Sorry, Link doesn't work without Sub. to ABQ Journal
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Mens Basketball: Joe Harge Wants To Lead the Aggies
By Randy Harrison
Journal Staff Writer
His surname is synonymous with University of New Mexico basketball greatness. He has said a chance to coach the Lobos would be his "dream job."
But read on even if you think you've heard this before.
Joe Harge is a Lobos fan, satisfied Ritchie McKay has the program on solid ground and, meanwhile, wants to rebuild the basketball program at rival New Mexico State.
"Without a doubt," said Harge, asked if he is interested in the soon-to-be vacant position.
"My agent is getting a (résumé) together and I'll get that sent in the next couple of days. I go back to years when they won big, and I think they can again. Especially going into the (Western Athletic Conference), that's exciting."
Harge, whose father Ira played at UNM with McKay's father Joe in 1962-63, is coaching the championship-contending Arkansas RimRockers of the American Basketball Association.
As an active, winning head coach, the former St. Pius and Oregon State player may be the anomaly among those in the basketball world who would find appealing the New Mexico State position.
NMSU athletic director McKinley Boston said he will begin to review applications Monday while also trying to put together an offer package that will be competitive in the WAC. He also will likely continue networking in order to identify additional candidates who haven't yet applied.
"That's normal," said Boston.
That said, the pool of candidates to fill the retired Lou Henson's position is intriguing.
Tony Benford, Arizona State assistant: The Hobbs native and former UNM assistant can call on his in-state ties and his record as a recruiter (Charles Smith, Clayton Shields, Kenny Thomas to the Lobos). ASU head coach Rob Evans, an NMSU alum, has said in published reports that he would endorse Benford.
"I'm getting my résumé in next week," Benford told the Journal. "It's a very appealing job ... maybe the best job in (the WAC). They've got a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament every year."
Craig Esherick, ex-Georgetown head coach: He's the anti-Benford in that Esherick has never even lived outside the Washington, D.C. area. But he says that doesn't matter.
"I'm serious about the job," said Esherick, who was 103-74 as GU head coach before he was fired after the 2003-04 season. He also was a longtime assistant to John Thompson during the glory years that included the 1984 national championship team. "I'm most proud of the fact that we've won without any hint of an NCAA violation and the kids graduated."
Bubba Jennings, Texas Tech: The Clovis native's candidacy has been confirmed, though the Journal has been unable to reach him for comment. He is director of video operations for Texas Tech. He previously coached for nine seasons at Artesia High.
Larry Shyatt, Florida assistant: The former UNM assistant and Wyoming head coach "has not been contacted and is not a candidate," said a University of Florida spokesperson, who at the same time didn't confirm or deny Shyatt's possible interest.
"I have heard his name," said Boston.
Nolan Richardson, ex-Arkansas head coach: Boston didn't say Richardson has even expressed interest, but acknowledges the UTEP graduate's star power. "I'd be happy to talk to him," Boston said.
Tony Stubblefield, NMSU interim head coach: Boston said Stubblefield has been encouraged to apply even though the Aggies are laboring through their worst season in two decades. Stubblefield had the job thrust into his lap when Henson's poor health prevented him from coaching this season.