Former UNC coach withdraws name

Originally Published: March 11, 2005
By Andy Katz |

Previous Words: Mon. | Tues. | Wed. | Thurs.

Former North Carolina coach Matt Doherty withdrew from the Tulsa search Friday after interviewing for the position over the past few weeks.

Doherty was considered a frontrunner for the job, which opened earlier this season when John Phillips resigned. But sources said Tulsa athletic director Judy MacLeod is leaning toward interim coach and former assistant Pooh Williamson. The Golden Hurricane finished 9-20, 5-13 in the WAC under Williamson.

In addition to Williamson, the Golden Hurricane have talked to Texas assistant Rodney Terry, Oklahoma assistant Bob Hoffman, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla and Michigan State assistant Doug Wojcik and also made some inquiries to Kansas assistant Tim Jankovich, but haven't formally interviewed him.

Tulsa is leaving the WAC for Conference USA next season.

Doherty was a finalist at St. John's last season before that job went to former Kansas assistant Norm Roberts. He withdrew from the James Madison search after it appeared he was a lock for that job. Doherty, a former national coach of the year at North Carolina, is currently working as an analyst for CSTV and ESPN regional.

Arizona aiming for a No. 1?
Arizona's coaching staff has been talking to its team about the possibility of the Wildcats being a No. 1 seed.

The Wildcats have taken to scoreboard watching throughout the week and taken notice of possible competitors to the No. 1 seed going down. Arizona was particularly interested in North Carolina losing to Clemson Friday afternoon (a possibility until the final couple of minutes).

The Wildcats know that they might need some help to get a No. 1 seed but they could grab the top slot in the Albuquerque region. The fourth No. 1 has been considered open for weeks. Even with a North Carolina loss, the Tar Heels were expected to get a top seed, along with Illinois and Wake Forest.

The other contenders for the fourth No. 1 appear to be Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.

The selection committee began meeting Thursday and is diving headfirst into all of these upsets. Sources say the committee is certainly moving Maryland and Notre Dame toward the back of the line, but a loss by UCLA might not be so damaging to the Bruins' NCAA Tournament chances.

The selection committee is going to really digest the result of the UAB-DePaul game from Thursday, too.

Friday nuggets
Maryland coach Gary Williams won't give up just yet. He's planning on watching the Selection Show with his team on Sunday. The Terps are hoping that the selection committee looks favorably at its wins over Duke, Georgia Tech and Memphis and the fact that the Terps are dealing with injuries (D.J. Strawberry out since January and freshman forward James Gist missed the loss to Clemson). ...

Notre Dame is hoping that the selection committee looks that the Irish played the toughest schedule in a conference ranked among the top four conferences. The Irish went 4-7 in 11 Big East games against Connecticut, Georgetown, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Boston College. The Irish are still hoping that the selection committee will look at the overall strength of schedule rather than just base it on the Irish's final few weeks. ...

South Carolina assistant Ricky Stokes and Alabama assistant Orlando Early are due to interview for the vacant East Carolina opening within a week. ...

Assistant and head coaches in the East are lining up to see what will occur with Massachusetts coach Steve Lappas. His coaching fate in Amherst will be known Monday. If Lappas does get fired or forced out then you'll hear names like Connecticut assistant Tom Moore, UW-Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl, Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez, Memphis assistant Tony Barbee, a former Minutemen player and Ohio coach Tim O'Shea. ...

Florida expects junior guard Anthony Roberson to declare for the NBA Draft and test the process. If Roberson were considered a first-round pick, he would stay in the draft. senior writer Andy Katz brings the Daily Word five days a week to ESPN Insider.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer