The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Tommy Connor has interviewed with Chris Hill. Connor, a former Utah player and assistant, is a link to the Utes' glory years, as he coached under Rick Majerus during some of the best runs in school history. He is currently the head coach of Westminster, where he has led the Griffins to a 187-98 record after starting the program from scratch.
There is a debate going on in the diaries over whether hiring Connor would be the right move. Frankly, while I like Connor and respect his coaching ability, I think Utah needs a homerun hire and at this point I don't think he's it. Yes, he very well could turn out to be a great coach that's capable of replicating Utah's run in the 1990s, but he also could struggle adjusting to the next level, having spent 8 years in the NAIA.
Realistically, I've got to think Connor is down on Hill's list because of those reasons, but an interview was probably conducted at the behest of Jon Huntsman, Michael Doleac Andre Miller and Keith Van Horn. They have strongly pushed for the Connor hire and this very well could be a symbolic gesture to that group.
Or Hill was informed that every candidate turned him down and he's stuck with Connor being his fall-back option. If that's the case, then I guess we can accept the hire, move on and hope he does great things at Utah. Though I think that's highly unlikely, as the Utes can offer up to $1 million to their next coach.
The Tribune article also mentions that six candidates have interviewed with Hill. As I reported Saturday, Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor has interviewed with Hill. It's also been published that Kent State head coach Jim Christian and Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen have also interviewed for the job. The Tribune speculates that Florida assistant and former Wyoming Cowboys head coach Larry Shyatt might have interviewed, though he has emphatically denied having contact with Utah. That probably leaves two other candidates that have interviewed with Hill. Could they be Chris Lowery and Todd Lickliter, or some other unknown coaches? I guess we'll see.
Regardless of who gets the job, an announcement is expected in the coming days. My gut tells me it'll be Boylen, but who really knows. With Connor getting an interview, maybe Hill has decided he's the best option for Utah basketball.