Coaches selected for Towson men's, women's programs

Georgia assistant Hunt, Mathews to fill posts

College Basketball

April 27, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Nearly two months after the end of basketball season, Towson is set to announce the hiring of new coaches for its men's and women's teams.

Michael Hunt, a former assistant at Towson and a current assistant at Georgia, will be the new men's coach, and Virginia Tech assistant Joe Mathews will get the women's job.

Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards, who conducted the searches, is scheduled to make the announcements at noon today after the new coaches meet with the teams.

Hunt, 40, will become the sixth coach in the 43-year history of Towson basketball, He coached the last three years at Georgia, the last two under Jim Harrick. He will replace Mike Jaskulski, who was fired on March 19, 16 days after completing a 12-17 season.

Declining to comment when called at a local hotel, where both coaches were holed up, Hunt said, "I'll be happy to talk ... tomorrow."

Mathews, 35, beat out Georgia Tech's Candi Cage, Navy's Helen Williams and Georgetown's Bob Clark for the Towson women's job, which opened when the school chose not to renew Ellen Fitzkee's contract in early March after a 3-25 season.

Mathews comes to Towson after four seasons at Virginia Tech, where he helped the Hokies to NCAA tournament appearances each year he was there. Before going to Virginia Tech, he assisted on NCAA tournament teams at Radford and at Butler, where he was the lead recruiter, as he was at Virginia Tech.

Ten years ago, Hunt assisted former Towson coach Terry Truax during the program's last period of success. Hunt was there from 1988 to 1992, helping the Tigers to two NCAA appearances, before making stops at Fordham, Tennessee and then Georgia.

Hunt was interviewed earlier this week after Edwards had brought in Catholic head coach Mike Lonergan and Citadel head coach Pat Dennis.

St. John's assistant Kevin Clark also visited the campus, while North Carolina State assistant Sean Miller's scheduled interview fell through because of a conflict with his interview at Robert Morris College.

The candidacy of Dennis, a Baltimore native, provided the most interesting twist to the nearly six-week-long search. Sources around the program credit Towson with making an offer that was rejected primarily because of budget concerns.

Dennis said he'd prefer not to comment because, " ... I'd like for whoever they hire to have the best opportunity."

Hunt's salary will probably be in the low six figures, while two full-time assistants were to make a total of $85,000 in packages mentioned to other candidates.

Edwards attributed the languid pace of the search to the problem of finding the best candidates for both jobs.

Still, with most of the spring recruiting period over, Hunt could be in a major bind heading into Towson's first season of Colonial Athletic Association play.

Four of the five starters from last year had been expected to return, but that could change as soon as Hunt is officially hired.

According to Steve Holtz, father of forward Shaun Holtz, Edwards wouldn't give releases to any players until the new coaches were hired and had an opportunity to meet the players.

Shaun Holtz said he would wait to make a decision until after the team's meeting with Hunt, but he's said to be the most inclined among the players to leave.

Tamir Goodman, Brian Allen and Derrick Goode are three other key players who could end up at different schools next season.

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