Speedy Claxton thinks he knows who should be Hofstra's next basketball coach: himself. The former Pride star, who went on to a seven-year career in the NBA, said he officially will throw his name into the ring Thursday during an expected meeting with athletic director Jeff Hathaway, who is conducting the search.
"I think I'm the right guy for the job," said the 34-year-old Claxton, a resident of Old Westbury who has been a scout for the Golden State Warriors the last two seasons. Claxton, a two-time America East player of the year, led Hofstra to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and won an NBA title with the Spurs in 2003.
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"I know I haven't had any formal coaching experience but being a point guard you're kind of a coach on the floor," he said. "And making it to the highest level and playing for Hall of Fame coaches can only be a plus."
Claxton said his lack of experience could hurt, but added "if that's the case they surround me with experience, just like Valparaiso did with Bryce Drew or Iowa State with Fred Hoiberg. If you have an inexperienced coach but a coach you believe in you surround him with experience that could help him."
Hofstra this season hired 22-year-old Shannon Smith as the youngest women's lacrosse coach in Division I.
Hofstra is not discussing any potential candidates. A spokesman said, "The administration is meeting with a wide range of people to discuss the future of the program."
Albany coach Will Brown and Iona's Tim Cluess had expressed interest in the past. The opening was created when Hofstra announced Mo Cassara would not be returning after a 7-25 record and the arrest of six players for off-court incidents.
"We need to get a Hofstra guy in there," Claxton said, "so we can bring back all the other alumni to get involved with the program. I think a lot got detached. I know I don't know the administrative side, but I definitely know the basketball side. Sometimes you've got to think outside the box. It will be a positive in the PR department. They'll finally have something positive to say about the program."