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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Johnson discusses coaching search

BLOG: The search for Ole Miss’ next women’s basketball coach is in week two and Ole Miss Executive Associate A.D./Senior Woman Administrator Lynnette Johnson said she doesn’t expect the process to be completed in the near future.

The search officially got underway March 2 when former coach Renee Ladner announced her resignation following a 12-18 season.

Since then, Johnson said she has received “great interest” in the position but because the Women’s NIT (March 14-31) and NCAA Tournaments (March 17-April 3) have yet to get underway, she doesn’t foresee anything happening in the immediate future.

“The timetable is tough. It is postseason play right now with the WNIT and NCAA (Tournament),” she said. “As you’re working your search and trying to communicate with people, there are still people trying to win ballgames and win championships. Just like with softball last year, you have to work within the time frames knowing basketball season is still going on and unfortunately not for us.

“My time frame is as soon as we can get the right fit, but not until then. We are continuing to work the process.”

The fact Mississippi State announced Vic Schaefer as its next coach on Tuesday will not impact Ole Miss’ search, Johnson said.

“Everybody has their own timelines for when things happen for their institutions and you work your search and do everything you’re responsible to do as an administrator and a search committee to find the best person and the best fit for your school and you can’t watch what other people are doing,” she said.

Johnson said the search committee, which consists of Johnson, Provost Don Cole and Senior Associate Athletics Director of Marketing and Communications Michael Thompson, is looking for a coach with five years of coaching experience at either the Division 1, Division 2 or professional level.

“We looked at several other job descriptions and we determined that we wanted five years of experience at the Division 1, 2 or professional level,” she said. “We did not designate head coaching experience within that because there are a lot of top assistants and we didn’t want to limit ourselves with that.”

Johnson later added: “I think right now we’re looking at quality applicants and seeing what everybody brings to the table. We’re in the Southeastern Conference and you have to be able to coach, recruit and put together a good staff to balance that around.”

Asked if it was important to hire someone with ties to either the SEC, Ole Miss or the state of Mississippi, Johnson said “I think all of those things are important but we’re not going to limit ourselves to one item or another. We have to look at the whole package of the person and see what they bring to the table.”

Ladner was 70-82 in five seasons as Ole Miss’ head coach.

For more on the coaching search check out Thursday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE(March 14, 2012)

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