Hobbs named in coaching search

The post-Final Four coaching carousel is spinning and some think GW’s head men’s basketball coach is aboard, waiting to be plucked.

The Providence Journal reported that Karl Hobbs, who just finished his seventh year at the helm of a Colonials basketball program he revitalized, is a candidate for the head coaching job at Providence College. Although his contract doesn’t expire until 2012, Hobbs has frequently been mentioned for coaching openings across the country since bringing GW to three NCAA tournaments.

Jack Kvancz, GW’s director of athletics, said Providence athletic officials have not called to inform him of any discussions between the Rhode Island Catholic school and Hobbs. Hobbs could not be reached for comment Sunday.

“Do I think he’s on a list? He could be,” Kvancz said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon. “They haven’t called me yet and they would call me. I know (administrators at Providence).”

Kvancz said Hobbs has told him that he is happy in Foggy Bottom and has no immediate plans to leave. But Providence is in the Big East, one of the strongest basketball conferences in the country where Hobbs once played and coached with the University of Connecticut.

“Providence is back home and in the Big East,” Kvancz said. “Dollars? I guess that could play into it.”

In the last few weeks, George Mason’s Jim Larranaga and Massachusetts’ Travis Ford both turned down the job. Others mentioned in media reports are University of Florida’s associate head coach Larry Shyatt and Larry Brown, who has coached in the NBA and college.

It is questionable whether a job at Providence still has the lure it once did in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Friars appeared in two Final Fours. The Big East now has 16 teams, eight of which earned berths in the NCAA tournament. Providence competes for recruits with local schools such as UConn., Boston College, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If Hobbs has hopes to return to Connecticut when head coach Jim Calhoun retires, it would be more difficult from a fellow Big East program.

“I don’t know if Karl has said he wants to go to UConn,” Kvancz said. “He said he’s pretty happy here.”

Kvancz has only given one team permission to speak to Hobbs during his tenure. After GW’s historic 2006 NCAA run, Kvancz gave the University of Cincinnati permission to talk to Hobbs, but Mick Cronin, formerly the coach of Murray State, got the job.

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