Williams College closing in on next men's basketball coach
Williams College could have a new men's basketball coach within a week.
Athletic director Lisa Melendy said interviews with the four finalists wrapped up Friday and she said that an offer could be forthcoming quickly.
"We're hoping to have someone in place by early next week," Melendy told The Eagle.
Two former Williams College assistant coaches and a current assistant at Princeton are among the four finalists to replace Mike Maker as the Ephs' head coach.
Multiple sources from outside the college have said that Bucknell associate head coach Dane Fischer, Army assistant Kevin App, Princeton assistant Brian Earl and Fairfield assistant Tony Newsome are reportedly the finalists.
Fischer worked for former Williams and current Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen. App was on the first coaching staff of Mike Maker, who left Williams in June to take the job at Marist.
The website Hoopdirt.com, a site for coaching news and jobs, reported last week that Fischer was a serious contender. Hoop dirt.com also reported that Skidmore coach Joe Burke was a candidate. Burke was an assistant at the Naval Academy and at Cornell before moving to Skidmore.
Melendy would not comment on any specific name, but the athletic director said any of the four candidates who visited Williams this week could do the job well.
"We feel really confident that any one of them could do the job," said Melendy.
Melendy, who led the five-person search committee, said the college originally received 84 applicants and did nine preliminary interviews before inviting the quartet of finalists to Williamstown.
She said the applicants ranged from coaches with experience in all three NCAA divisions to some who had "no experience in basketball ever."
"I was excited about the entire pool" of applicants, Melendy said. "Even deciding the first group [of interviewees] was tough."
Fischer has been an assistant at Bucknell for six seasons and the associate head coach for the past three. He joined Paulsen's staff after spending three seasons at Rider.
Fischer was a member of Paulsen's staff from 2003-05, and went with the Ephs to the NCAA Division III Final Four the season after Paulsen's team won the national title.
App has been on coach Zach Spiker's staff at West Point since 2010. He was an assistant at Cornell with Spiker under former Boston College head coach Steve Donahue.
App was on Maker's first staff at Williams in the 2008-09 season. That team went 17-9.
Earl just finished his seventh season as an assistant coach at Princeton. As a player at Princeton, Earl's teams won 95 games, which is a record at the Ivy League school.
Newsome has been the associate head coach at Fairfield for three seasons. He was an assistant at Princeton under Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson, and moved to Conn ecticut with Johnson.
Newsome has the most varied experience of the reported finalists, as he also worked on staffs at Holy Cross, Rider and Siena.
The candidates met with the search committee and were also interviewed by a group of returning Williams players.
"One student was able to come [to Williamstown] for a week," said Melendy, adding that the player helped facilitate conference calls with other returning veterans."
Since whoever is hired will be hired at the rank of assistant professor, the finalists also met with the school's committee on appointments and promotions.
"Our primary mission is what kind of experience are they going to create for our students," said Melendy. "We want somebody who is a strong teacher and has a passion for the sport."
Melendy said she's hoping her mission -- to hire a new coach -- will end shortly.
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.