NORTH ADAMS — The search is underway for a new men's basketball coach at MCLA.
The school has made the position full-time, combining the coaching position with an athletic communications assistant's post.
"The basketball team ... we need to get it back in the right direction," MCLA athletic director Laura Mooney said. "We're trying to get someone in here who's going to wrap their arms around the program and get it going in the right direction."
The new coach will replace interim head coach Tony Skiffington. Mooney said that when the job was posted as a full-time position, Skiffington could have applied and been considered for the job. But since Skiffington also has a successful painting contracting business, giving that up wouldn't work.
"I can't put the time into that position that it needs," said Skiffington when reached on Wednesday night. "There's much more than coaching, which is the easiest part."
The time line is to have a new head coach on board by Aug. 1.
Skiffington took over in October after former coach Jamie Morrison stepped down. Under Skiffington, the Trailblazers were 6-19.
"Tony did the best that he could, given the circumstance, absolutely," said Mooney. "It was the beginning of October when we found out we were going to have a vacancy. He stepped up and did a great job."
The now former head coach had nothing but good things to say about the MCLA athletic director.
"She was my biggest supporter through the season," said Skiffington.
Skiffington was Morrison's assistant, and said that he might consider returning to the MCLA bench. That would, however, depend on the head coach hired.
The college posted the job on April 28 in the NCAA Marketplace. The job, which includes working alongside of assistant athletic director Jeff Puleri in sports information, calls for candidates to have a Bachelor's degree with a Master's preferred, college-level coaching or relative coaching and/or playing experience and a proven ability to recruit.
The posting will be open until May 11. Mooney said that depending on how many applications they get, it could take several weeks to whittle down the number of candidates.
"I would look to do the interviews in June," she said. "Obviously, this will be [dependent on] peoples' schedules around campus."
Mooney said that in the week since the job was posted, she has received upwards of 70 applications for the position.
"No," said Mooney, when asked if she was surprised that the MCLA job got that much interest. "I actually think it will be somewhere upwards of 200 [applicants].
"Men's basketball jobs, just like football jobs, are really highly sought after in the collegiate world."
The applications are coming from "all over the country, people are applying from. Pretty much every state is on the list here," said Mooney, who quickly added that she doesn't know who the candidates are yet.
"Honestly, I haven't opened a single application," she said.
Traditionally, jobs like this get candidates who are Division III head coaches or assistants. There might also be Division I or II assistants looking for their first-ever head coaching jobs.
"I'm not going to take my time to look until after the applicants stop pouring in," she said. "I would assume we would have all sorts of guys from high school, definitely with Division III experience, and I would imagine there are D-II and D-I guys maybe, but definitely D-II guys."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.