The search is moving forward, quickly.
About a week after Tim Miles announced he was leaving to coach the Nebraska basketball team, CSU athletic director Jack Graham said that he is ready to hold brief, introductory meetings with prospective coaches this weekend.
Graham is going to New Orleans for the Final Four. Most coaches from around the country will be there for various coaches meetings and conventions.
On Thursday, an agreement was reached with the search firm JMI Sports to help Graham in the search. Another firm, Spencer Stuart, was also used by Graham in the hiring of football coach Jim McElwain.
Graham said that the list of potential candidates has been narrowed down from somewhere between 75-100 to a smaller, more manageable number. In looking for his next coach, Graham will be looking for someone that wants to help continue the ascension for CSU basketball program, which went 20-12 and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011-12.
â€œBring him in, in a way that weâ€™re not threatened that heâ€™s going to use this university as a stepping stone to move on to another university at some point and time,â€ Graham said Thursday night. â€œThatâ€™s not what Colorado State University is. Itâ€™s a destination. This is a place that great coaches want to be at, want to stay at.â€
To ensure a coach doesnâ€™t leave after a few years, Graham plans on giving the next CSU coach contractual provisions that make it difficult for him to leave.
Graham would not list any specific candidates, but did confirm that interim coach Craig Smith is on the list of potential coaches.
And Smith, while waiting for the search process to happen, is leading the team in a normal fashion.
â€œWeâ€™re doing exactly what we would have done any other year,â€ Smith said. â€œWe gave them a full week off. Nothing, no weights, get caught back up with school, get your body some rest, recuperate mentally.â€
Although the workouts may be the same, not everything is. Guard Cody Mann has already said that he will transfer. Smith said that he hasnâ€™t been told of anyone else planning on transferring.
Smith isnâ€™t concerned with the timeline to name the next coach. His focus is on the team he has right now. His dialogue with Graham has been good and is hoping to be the man that helps lead CSU into the future.
â€œHe (Graham) expects nothing but the best, and thatâ€™s the way it should be,â€ Smith said. â€œWe should have high expectations, we should aim for the stars, we should aim to be the best program and the best athletic department in the country. Whomever the next coach is, is really going to love the opportunity and love working at Colorado State.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JMI Sports search firm has been hired to assist
100-75 candidates initially. Has been cut down
Introductory interviews will be held in New Orleans