COLLEGE PARK — Notre Dame's Mike Brey doused speculation that he could be Maryland's men's basketball coach, leaving a short list of other candidates as members of the university community counseled a restive fan base to be patient.
"I think the person that's right for the job is probably still out there," said Len Elmore, a former Maryland and NBA player and chief executive of iHoops, a youth basketball organization.
"My advice is take your time. This is not about next year, it's about the long term," said Elmore, who was on the search committee that selected Kevin Anderson as Maryland's athletic director last year.
Maryland has continued to reach out to candidates to replace the retiring Gary Williams — and had potential candidates reach out to it. Among those expressing interest is John Lucas, the former Maryland star, NBA player and three-time NBA coach. "I would talk to them," Lucas said Sunday. Lucas, 57, has not coached college basketball and works with underclassmen at a pre-draft camp. He recently interviewed for the Houston Rockets' coaching vacancy, ESPN.com reported.
It's not known whether Maryland would contact Lucas, who has an advocate in his former Terps coach, Lefty Driesell. "He'd put up his feet on my desk and say, 'I'm going to coach here one day,'" Driesell said Sunday.
Brey appeared to signal his commitment Sunday to remain with Notre Dame. "No meetings. Go Irish!" he texted to the Chicago Tribune, which reported that Brey has been negotiating a contract extension. The text came the day after a prominent Maryland target — Sean Miller — opted to remain at Arizona, agreeing to a contract extension.
Other coaches, including Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, have indicated their satisfaction with current jobs. Dixon recently learned that his best player — guard Ashton Gibbs, the brother of Maryland recruit Sterling Gibbs — will remain at the school.
Maryland began the weekend with what one official called "a short list" that included a candidate — neither Miller nor Brey — that the school had contacted to gauge interest. The identity of that individual remained unknown, and fans on message boards tried Sunday to guess — Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon was a popular choice — who might be pursued now by Maryland.
Some fans expressed anxiety about the early direction of the search. But Maryland officials said privately that they were unconcerned. Coaching searches are rarely without stops and starts. As searches have become increasingly public, so has the visibility of the flirtations and rejections that characterize the process.
"The ones who are panicking— I wonder if they're the same people who tried to throw Gary [Williams] under the bus over recruiting," Elmore said.
Unlike in the football search, Maryland is not using a search firm.
Anderson — who learned a week ago that Williams was retiring — is leading the search. Officials denied a media report that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti accompanied Anderson to Las Vegas on Saturday in pursuit of Miller. Bisciotti said in a text message that he remained in town with his family and "my plane was planted firmly on the ground."
Maryland is expected to soon create a search committee that would interview top candidates in College Park before one is formally hired.