Coaching search continues; Is Lon Kruger a candidate?

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 12: Head coach Lon Kruger of the UNLV Rebels gestures to his players as they take on the UC Riverside Highlanders during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center November 12 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. UNLV won 85-41. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It's been two weeks since Jim Boylen was fired as Utah's head coach and, outside the Randy Bennett news last week, there is no indication from Chris Hill he's found his man. 

So we're left waiting...and waiting...and waiting. 

CBS' Seth Davis reported Friday that former Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried was the man to beat for the Utah job and yet, we've yet to hear anything about Hill setting up an interview or even discussing the job with the current ESPN analyst.

With Gottfried currently out the coaching ranks, Hill can theoretically talk to him whenever he wants. Yet it doesn't appear that has happened. Which could suggest Gottfried is a fallback option for Hill if he's turned down by his top candidates. 

Who are those top candidates? Well Spencer Checketts' of ESPN 700 tweeted last night that Lon Kruger was set to interview for the job this upcoming week. That was refuted, however, by Ryan Greene, UNLV beat writer for the Las Vegas Sun, who tweeted he had spoken with Kruger and Kruger denied any interview.

But that doesn't mean much. Of course Kruger is going to deny a potential interview - even if he plans on it. No coach, outside maybe Rick Majerus, would openly admit to interviewing for a job when they're currently employed. It just doesn't work that way. If Kruger interviews, he's going to try his best to keep it under wraps, covering all his bases just in case it doesn't work out. We saw something similar with Randy Bennett. 

Is Kruger a legitimate candidate? I've heard through different people that he is. But the interest could solely be one-sided and he might be using Utah to get a contract extension from the Rebels. That's important to point out, because his contract runs through 2013 - which would make him a lame duck entering next season.

I've also heard Kruger might be tiring of the fans in Las Vegas, who have become increasingly critical of his coaching the last couple of seasons. With the Rebels not winning the Mountain West regular season championship under his leadership and getting bounced in the first round of consecutive NCAA Tournaments, the grumbles only continue to grow. 

Would it be enough for the 58 year old to start over at a program like Utah? Possibly. Kruger hasn't made his home in one place for long, coaching at five universities throughout his near 30-year college coaching career (and that doesn't even begin to touch on his time in the NBA). 

We should hear whether this Kruger rumor has legs in the coming days. 

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