The job Bobby Knight once termed among the toughest in the country is open again. And since the field will initially be fairly small, it will also include some familiar names to BYU fans.
BYU Athletic Director Glen Tuckett said Friday that the replacement for retiring basketball coach Ladell Andersen will ideally be an LDS coach, which narrows the field considerably. "You know the candidates - everyone does," Tuckett told the Deseret News. "There's no secret candidates."Tuckett said it would not be a national search, and there would be no want ads run in the NCAA News.
The initial list of LDS or BYU-connected candidates is headed by assistant coach Roger Reid, who has spent 11 years in the program. Reid,
upset at not being named immediately, said Friday morning before the press conference that if a search was instituted, he wasn't interested in the job anymore. But that was before he met with Tuckett Friday afternoon.
The other big hitter to weigh in is Southern Utah State's Neil Roberts.
If these names sound familiar, they should. Reid and Roberts finished second and third in the running
six years ago when the position went to Andersen. Now they are older and perhaps more cautious. Roberts, who has also been contacted about the vacant job at the University of Utah, says he isn't going to apply for the BYU job, but if the Cougars call, he's all ears.
Contacted Friday afternoon at his office in Cedar City, Roberts said, "When they announced what happened, that Ladell resigned, I really expected that they would name Roger right then."
Roberts said though he isn't actively pursuing the position - which Tuckett said should be filled in 7-10 days - he doesn't mind being considered. "I'd be disappointed if my name never came up, but I believe I can coach . . ."
After Reid and Roberts, the list gets hazier. Tuckett mentioned BYU's other assistant coach, Carl Ingersoll. Ingersoll, who is usually considered a long shot, said if BYU is interested, so is he. "I would crawl over broken glass; I would climb Mt. Everest on my hands and knees; I would stack BB's; I would take on the Red Army and wipe them out, starting now, if they would give me the BYU job," he said.
A lesser-known LDS coach who will probably be contacted is College of Southern Idaho coach Fred Trinkle, who is at the NJCAA playoffs in Hutchinson, Kansas. From there it goes to even less likely candidates: Dixie coach Ken Wagner; Duke Reid, Roger Reid's brother who coaches at UVCC; Ricks College coach Gary Gardner; former BYU assistant Harry Anderson; former Provo High coach Jim Spencer.
Among the other considerations are a couple of coaches with strong BYU ties: former Westminster coach and BYU player Tom Steinke, and Ron Abegglen, a former BYU student who coached at Snow College and is now at Alaska-Anchorage.
Then come the wild projections: UCLA Coach Jim Harrick; former BYU coach Frank Arnold; Utah State Athletic Director Rod Tueller; and Colorado State coach Boyd Grant. And last, but not least, is former Ute coach Lynn Archibald. None of this group has been contacted, but they fall in the category of LDS coaches. "I don't think one of them (the candidates) would be me. If they're interested they'll call me, " said Archibald.
Tuckett said there is no mandate that BYU hire an LDS coach, but that "history has shown" they have worked out best.
Meanwhile, coach Ladell Andersen was vague about his plans. He said he will talk to faculty rep Dr. Clayne Jensen and Tuckett about staying at the school in some capacity. "The university is open to something to that effect. I'd always like to be associated with the school," said Andersen.
"We're doing some talking with the dean (Clayne Jensen) and Glen and a few others," Andersen continued. "We want to make up our minds. We've got to figure some things out. They're willing to work around us somewhat."