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Monday, March 26, 2012 1:34 p.m.

Nero: Search for women’s basketball head coach ‘progressing very well’

Senior forward/guard Tara Booker charges around a La Salle defender earlier this season. | Hatchet File Photo

The field of prospective candidates for the women’s basketball head coaching position is narrowing, athletic director Patrick Nero said, and he estimates an announcement will come in a matter of weeks.

The Director of Athletics and Recreation said the University’s search for a new head coach had “an incredible response,” and is now considering a range of four to five qualified candidates. The official hire, who will replace former head coach Mike Bozeman, would likely come after postseason play wraps, Nero said.

“It’s progressing very well. The good news-bad news for us right now is that I would say our top four or five candidates all made it into the NCAA tournament, and many of them are still alive. We have to respect that,” Nero said. “And so it could be the week or so after the national championship before we announce, because a couple of them may be in the Final Four.”

As Nero considers candidates, he has certain key qualifications in mind. Most important in those calculations, he said, is the candidate’s most recent institution. Nero wants a hire who is coming from a university that held their women’s basketball program in the same type of esteem he feels GW gives to its team, which will be key in returning the Colonials to their former heights.

“It’s important to me that they’ve been at a university similar to GW. With high academic standards, expectations in women’s basketball, in a program in an athletic department where women’s basketball is important to the department, so they understand that,” Nero said. “High profile programs, been in the NCAA tournaments, those type of things that we’ve talked about.”

Equally important for the University’s athletic director is maintaining a line of communication with the women’s basketball roster. Nero said he reached out to all of the incoming recruits the day after Bozeman was fired, and all four indicated they still intend to attend GW.

Nero has also been proactive in meeting with the current Colonials, and said that prospective transfers likely wouldn’t be discussed until a new coach is named.

“Right now, we didn’t name an interim coach, so they’re working with their strength coach, their academic advisor, and myself. So I’m in touch with them on a weekly basis. I’m not sure that everyone will be back, it’s just hard to tell. As we saw even last year, when you transition coaches in any sport, sometimes you do transition a couple of people on the roster,” Nero said. “Sometimes it’s their decision, sometimes it’s the new coach’s decision, that’s just kind of part of college athletics.”

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