Dennis opts to pass on Loyola job The Citadel coach decides to stay put

March 30, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

After considering for a week whether to go to Loyola to interview for the Greyhounds' vacant basketball coaching job, Pat Dennis said last night that he's staying at The Citadel.

With Dennis no longer in the picture, Xavier assistant Skip Prosser and La Salle assistant Joe Mihalich become the front-runners for the Loyola job, although athletic director Joe Boylan might go back to a stack of 70 applications to find other finalists to interview this week. Prosser was on campus for a formal interview yesterday, and Mihalich was to do the same today.

Prosser has been the chief recruiter for an Xavier program that two weeks ago made its seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament in eight years. Mihalich is most familiar with Loyola's situation, since La Salle was the top program in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Loyola's league, before moving last year to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

"After we talk to Mihalich, we'll decide if we want to bring in anyone else," said Boylan. "There are many other good candidates, but I don't want to bring people in just to bring them in."

The Greyhounds finished 2-25 this season, the worst record ever in Loyola's 82-season basketball history, and were 1-15 in the MAAC. Tom Schneider, in the final season of a four-year contract, resigned in mid-January when the Greyhounds were 1-11.

Dennis, a finalist when Loyola hired Schneider four years ago, was contacted by the Loyola administration last week about coming for an interview. On Friday, Dennis' contract with The Citadel was extended through 1996-67, but he didn't rule out his interest in Loyola until last night.

"It's not that I was ever offered the job," Dennis said. "In a different time or situation, there wouldn't be any question that I would come to Loyola [for an interview], but I'm happy where I am.

"The athletic director here [at The Citadel] gave me an opportunity that I had waited for. I don't feel I've fulfilled my obligation here, and I'd feel uncomfortable bailing out after one year."

Dennis, a Loyola assistant from 1982-84, said that the contract extension with The Citadel was in the works for several weeks, and that it had nothing to do with any discussions he had with Loyola last week.

A Towson native, Dennis spent seven years helping Dick Tarrant establish Richmond as the premier program in the Colonial Athletic Association. Had Dennis not taken the job at The Citadel last summer he probably would have been a prime candidate at Richmond to replace Tarrant, who resigned at the end of this season.

Dennis' first team at The Citadel finished 10-17 overall and 8-10 in the Southern Conference.

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