Bliss a candidate to coach Dakota Wizards

Updated: August 20, 2005, 3:36 PM ET
Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Dave Bliss, who resigned as Baylor University men's basketball coach in the wake of a scandal two years ago, is a candidate for the job of Dakota Wizards head coach.

"We're checking his references and checking this out," owner Steve McCormick told The Bismarck Tribune. "What he told us, and how he told us, we felt reasonably comfortable."

McCormick said Bliss had contacted the Wizards about the coaching vacancy.

Another serious candidate for the job is Brian Walsh, who served as an assistant coach under Owens last season. Walsh also was an assistant under Bliss at Baylor, but had left the team before the program was hit by the 2003 scandal.

Wizards general manager Jane Link confirmed that Bliss was one of approximately five candidates being considered for the position, which opened when the Wizards declined to renew the contract of coach Casey Owens.

"He is a candidate, and we are looking at the candidates from all angles," Link said.

The team hopes to have an announcement by early next week, Link said. She could not elaborate, she said.

Allegations of NCAA violations surfaced at Baylor after the death of player Patrick Dennehy, in June 2003. Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton resigned two months later. A former teammate, Carlton Dotson, pleaded guilty in June this year to killing Dennehy.

A former assistant coach secretly recorded Bliss trying to persuade others to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer to cover up illegal payments to players and other violations, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press