SALT LAKE CITY — Beehive State basketball fans who've fretted about former University of Utah coach Jim Boylen being hired as the Jazz's next head coach can take a deep breath.
Boylen, a friend of Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, is no longer in the running to replace Tyrone Corbin as Utah's bench boss, according to multiple sources.
Former Missouri coach Quin Snyder, longtime NBA coach Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin remain the leading candidates to become the Jazz's fifth coach since the organization left New Orleans in 1979. They all had second interviews with Utah brass this week.
Another mystery candidate is also being interviewed by the Jazz, according to sources. His identity is being guarded tightly by Utah management.
While Jazz officials have kept mum about their coaching candidates, team president Randy Rigby said the organization continues to make progress on making a hire.
"I’m excited about the mindset of the candidates, of what they’ve all proposed, their excitement about this young team, about the opportunities that we have with assets, with picks, with assets we have financially," Rigby said during his weekly appearance on 1280 The Zone.
"... I’ve been very impressed with the commitment level and the intensity and the vision that our candidates are bringing to the table."
Rigby added that he agreed with a friend who told him, "The Jazz don't just hire a coach; they marry a coach."
Six weeks after filing for a coaching divorce with Corbin, the Jazz are hoping for a long-term partnership that lasts longer the 3.5-year relationship they had with Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's successor.
"I think it’s the best description because this is a marriage," Rigby said. "We look at someone and we plan on them for the long haul because stabilty is important. ... We're counting on someone who can make a long-term commitment to us."
Thought it caused some uproar by local sports fans, Boylen was reported to be an early frontrunner after Lindsey and the Millers opted to not renew Corbin's contract days after the conclusion of the Jazz's 25-57 season.
Boylen worked with the Jazz GM in Houston and has remained close with Lindsey over the years.
Boylen coached the Utes for four years, going 69-60 and making one NCAA tournament appearance (2009) before being fired in 2011 after two rough seasons.
His coaching resume also includes stints with Michigan State, the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and the Spurs. He is currently the lead assistant for NBA coach of the year Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, which is about to take on Miami in the NBA Finals.
The Jazz have not given a timetable for when they'd like to hire a coach, only repeating that it's important to do a thorough search.
"We have a much better idea today than we did last week," Rigby said. "(We'll) have a much clearer vision a week from now."
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