Does Dukes job have appeal?

Industry sources' opinions conflict

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Some Atlantic 10 Conference sources are saying the men's basketball coaching job at Duquesne is an attractive one because of Ron Everhart's resurrection of the program from bottom dweller six years ago.

Others in the industry have pointed to some peculiar developments on the bluff and questioned the job's appeal as the search remained quiet publicly nearly a week after Everhart was fired.

"Duquesne is an attractive job right now. I think they're in a really good position to bring in someone really good," said St. Bonaventure athletic director Steve Watson, citing the improved Palumbo Center coupled with the league's stature.

Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski agrees.

"They've got a real chance to build on what Ron did there," he said, noting the relationship with Consol Energy Center and facility improvements.

Bobinski said the roadblocks will be similar to what every new coach faces: getting the existing roster to fit, and landing a recruiting class.

"It's very unlikely someone will come in and do things exactly like Ron did," he said. "I understand there's some players who are leaving, so there will be a need to shore up the ranks, but those issues are part and parcel of a coaching change."

A person believed to be a candidate is Dino Guadio, who has strong ties to athletic director Greg Amodio as the two worked together at Xavier years ago.

Guadio was head coach at Wake Forest and is currently an analyst on ESPNU.

Amodio has acknowledged he is close friends with Gaudio and speaks to him weekly.

"I think he's obviously very experienced and has been around successful programs. He led a successful program at Wake Forest for a while," Bobinski said. "Do I think Dino is an attractive coaching candidate? I do. Will he ultimately be the right fit at Duquesne? That's for those guys to figure out."

However, Mike Anthony of WTRF in Wheeling, W.Va., tweeted Wednesday night "Dino Gaudio tells me has no interest in Duquesne coaching job #valleyguy."

Another hot candidate is Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua, a former Pitt player who is being touted by Kentucky coach John Calipari. Antigua is reputed to be a strong recruiter.

Calipari told the website earlier this month that Antigua is "ready to be a head coach."

A source told the Post-Gazette this week that Antigua had not been contacted for the position, but if the deal were a good one, he would be interested.

An up-and-comer just across town is Andy Toole, head coach at Robert Morris who led the Colonials to the championship game of the Northeast Conference tournament this year, a win shy of the NCAA tournament.

A source said Toole had not been contacted by Duquesne officials, and added it was unclear if Toole would even be interested in the job.

With the Final Four on tap this weekend, some movement in college coaching circles could follow.

Amodio said last week he expects the job will sell itself. "I'm not sure we'd have to sell anything. ... This is a great college basketball town. We want to accentuate our positioning."

But some believe there are situations that could hinder Duquesne's search.

Multiple industry sources said it's troubling that an internal memo was leaked to last week the day Everhart was fired with some very specific criticism of the coach.

Another questionable issue, said one source, is the fact that Everhart and his staff were fanned out across the country securing verbal commitments for next year's recruiting class for more than a week when steps were being taken for a coaching change.

Still, the same source said: "There's only 347 jobs out there in Division I basketball. Some people will look past that."

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said it's pretty clear it's a tough gig.

"I mean they were 3-24 before Ronny got there," said Huggins, who has a long-standing friendship with Everhart. "[They haven't] been to any tournament in a whole bunch of years. Obviously, people have had a hard time there."

Watson, the Bonnies AD who hired Mark Schmidt five years ago from Robert Morris, said his program was in a similar place that Duquesne was when Everhart was brought in.

Earlier in the decade the Bonnies suffered through a trying era with a player eligibility scandal, NCAA sanctions and massive turnover.

This season the Bonnies won the Atlantic 10 tournament title and nearly upset Florida State in the NCAA tournament as a No. 12 seed.

"When we brought Mark Schmidt five years ago and really started from, I wouldn't say ground zero, but the program was definitely in transition," Watson said. "Mark's been able to build it up. We played in the NCAA tournament this year. The program grew. And he did it the right way with the right kind of kids.

"But it's been a process. It didn't happen overnight."


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