LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska associate athletic director who oversees basketball says the search for a new coach to replace the fired Doc Sadler will focus on proven program builders.
Marc Boehm said Saturday that he and athletic director Tom Osborne met Friday night. Boehm said many of the potential candidates will be coaching in the NCAA tournament, so it might take anywhere from a week to a month to bring someone on board.
"Every hire is important," Boehm said, "but for where we're at in the program, this is a very big hire."
The next coach will be taking over a program that finished 12-18 overall this season and finished in last place in its first season in the Big Ten.
Attendance has slipped simultaneously as construction begins on a 16,000-seat arena in downtown Lincoln that will open for the 2013-14 season.
Potential candidates mentioned in media reports have been Oregon's Dana Altman, whose previous job was at Creighton in Omaha, Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart, UCLA's Ben Howland, Ohio's John Groce and Colorado State's Tim Miles.
Maryland assistant Scott Spinelli, a Nebraska assistant for three years under Sadler's predecessor, Barry Collier, also has been mentioned.
"You can't rule out anything," Boehm said, "but the one thing you've got to look at is someone who has built up a program."
Nebraska has little, if any, basketball tradition but has upgraded its facilities. The school opened a $10 million practice facility in October that rivals any in the nation, and the new arena is coming.
Boehm said he and Osborne know they'll have to increase the pay to land a suitable coach. Sadler earned $900,000 a year.
"We haven't set a salary range," he said. "It depends on the candidate. But we will be very competitive."
The Huskers haven't won a conference championship since 1950.