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Hofstra zeros in on former Providence coach Welsh

Providence coach Tim Welsh watches his team in

Providence coach Tim Welsh watches his team in action during college basketball game against Villanova. (March 8, 2008) Photo Credit: AP

Tim Welsh to Hofstra isn't quite a done deal, but all indications are that it soon will be. One school interested in Welsh scratched him off its list when it became apparent he was in serious negotiations with Pride athletic director Jack Hayes, and two other college sources said Welsh is Hofstra's man.

Welsh, the former Providence and Iona coach, interviewed Tuesday as the possible successor to Tom Pecora, who recently took the Fordham job. Current Hofstra assistant Van Macon also interviewed, but it's believed Hayes wants an established head coach.

A source at the school that was interested in talking to Welsh said he is "a lock for Hofstra.'' Another from a second school said, "Welsh got it.''

Officials at Hofstra were not ready last night to confirm anything. However, the best indications are an announcement is expected sometime this week.

Welsh, who worked as an ESPNU commentator the past two seasons, also had been mentioned as a serious candidate at Siena since Fran McCaffery left to take the Iowa job, and also as a possibility for his old job at Iona. In 10 years at Providence, Welsh had five winning seasons and received two NCAA bids and three NIT bids. In three previous seasons at Iona, Welsh took the Gaels to one NCAA Tournament and two NITS.

Because of his long-standing recruiting ties in the area, Welsh would be considered a competitive replacement for Pecora. Hayes has indicated to associates that Hofstra is willing to hire a coach in the same $400,000 range it paid Pecora if it's the right person.

A school official declined to confirm names of other possible candidates because they have jobs elsewhere. But another college source said Hofstra was given permission to interview Vermont coach Mike Lonergan. Quinnipiac's Tom Moore and former Virginia coach Dave Leitao also were believed to be on the list, and Cornell's Steve Donahue approached several schools for interviews.

With at least two other schools showing such strong interest in Welsh, Hayes moved quickly to secure a name replacement for Pecora.


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