Boylan talk of town in Charlotte NCAA TOURNAMENT

April 04, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lou Carnesecca said he wasn't interested.

Bill Raftery said he wasn't available.

Lesley Visser said hello.

Bill Walton said, which Loyola are you from again?

There are more than 1,000 coaches and about five times that many administrators, media and hangers-on in town for the NCAA Final Four, and it only seems that Greyhounds athletic director Joe Boylan has talked to each of them.

Boylan thought he was going to have a relaxed visit to the Final Four. Do some schmoozing at the annual convention of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Accept congratulations for the Greyhounds' first trip to the NCAA tournament. Renew acquaintances from his days at Rutgers.

Those plans -- for that matter, all of Boylan's for the next week or two -- began to unravel Wednesday, when Pete Gillen announced he was leaving Xavier for Providence. Xavier wanted Skip Prosser, who took Loyola from 2-25 in 1992-93 to its first NCAA berth in his first season, to return to Cincinnati. When Prosser took the Xavier offer, Boylan embarked on a coaching search for the second time in a year.

"I've talked to a lot of people, but I haven't talked to a lot of people," Boylan said, his way of explaining that the formal portion of the hiring process won't begin until he returns to Evergreen today -- a day ahead of schedule.

"It [Xavier's hire of Prosser] wasn't official until Saturday," Boylan said, "but in this profession, everyone knew Friday night. Let's just say there are a lot of opinions out there."

If this were recruiting, the NCAA would monitor the "bumps" Boylan has had here.

He's shaken hands with -- and received an occasional opinion from retired St. John's coach Carnesecca, Louisville AD Bill Olson, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, ACC commissioner and fellow Baltimore native Gene Corrigan, opposing Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coaches Jack Armstrong (Niagara) and Fran Fraschilla (Manhattan), outgoing Atlantic 10 commissioner Ron Bertovich and Massachusetts coach John Calipari.

CBS announcers Raftery and Visser were over at the Marriott; Walton was the 7-footer in the seat next to Boylan in section 110 at the Charlotte Coliseum on Saturday night; and Gary Williams bought Boylan's wife, Molly, a lemonade there. Boylan said the Maryland coach could take it out of the Greyhounds' guarantee for next season's game at Cole Field House.

You've heard of power breakfasts. Boylan had a power Easter Sunday service at St. Peter's Church, where a Jesuit said the Mass.

He sat down next to Phil Knight, and the Nike chief executive was the only person who didn't ask Boylan about the opening. The overflow had Florida State coach Pat Kennedy standing in the aisle a few feet away. The Meyers of DePaul, Ray and Joey, were in the pew in front.

In the pew in front of them was Prosser, whose year and a day at Loyola made the Greyhounds a player in Division I, and whose departure made Boylan a popular man here. Boylan isn't naming names, but assistants from major powers are interested, as are some head coaches from lesser-known schools.

"I've already heard from 12 to 15 guys who are interested," Boylan said. "Skip changed the parameters at Loyola. When you have a program that's struggling, there are always questions about whether or not you're serious about basketball. Now that 'if' is gone."

Prosser's successor will be Loyola's fourth coach in 15 months. Boylan served as interim coach after the resignation of Tom Schneider in January 1993. The hiring of Prosser was a methodical process that lasted more than two months, but with a recruiting period opening tomorrow, Loyola has to move fast.

"The last time we had plenty of time to do it," Boylan said. "This time, we want to be quick, but not hurried. Just like you play the game."

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