Fran McCaffery remains the favorite for the Seton Hall job, despite a report on-air by Mike Francesa this afternoon stating that McCaffery declined the position.
According to Pete Iorizzo of timesunion.com, Seton Hall still has McCaffery on the radar, but has not offered as of yet:
There may be no movement until next week, when Seton Hall is expected to bring its finalists to the South Orange, N.J., campus for more extensive interviews, the Newark Star-Ledger is reporting. McCaffery and officials from the Big East school already have spoken.
I'm not entirely sure where Francesa got his information or what he is basing it on, but it seems to be a bit off. First, there are no reports that Seton Hall has even made an offer to McCaffery, not to mention that he's turned one down. Secondly, why would Seton Hall have offered McCaffery the job when they have a list of candidates who they're still waiting to interview? Kevin Willard was brought in today and the Pirates will possibly speak with Adrian Griffin and Steve Donahue (post Big Red run) as well.
According to J.P. Pelzman, an offer to McCaffery may not come until later this week:
McCaffery and Seton Hall will talk about potential salary later this week, and if they can reach an agreement, he could become the Pirates' new coach by early next week. Money could be a sticking point, as McCaffery reportedly is making more than $500,000 a year at Siena and Seton Hall is believed to be willing to go as high as $700,000, which might not be enough for McCaffery.
Iona coach, Kevin Willard interviewed at Seton Hall today according to Adam Zagoria:
Iona coach Kevin Willard will interview for the Seton Hall job, possibly as early as Thursday, multiple sources with knowledge said.
Former Seton Hall standout Shaheen Holloway is also on Willard's staff and bringing him back to South Orange as an assistant would be an added benefit.
According to Jon Rothstein, Rick Pitino is lobbying hard for his former assistant:
As the situation in South Orange continues to evolve, the thought of Willard taking over the Pirates becomes more and more intriguing. Endorsed by Rick Pitino as "the next Billy Donovan", Willard inherited an Iona team coming off a two-win season and led the Gaels to 21 victories in his third year.
Lastly, Jerry Carino throws one more name into the bag, Davidson's Bob McKillop:
Add a new/old name to the mix: Davidson's Bob McKillop, who was a finalist the last time around. Below is our latest speculation on the list of candidates. After McCaffery, the candidates are listed (very) roughly in order of where they might stand. I emphasize that this is rough, the situation is fluid and Seton Hall's brass is keeping things close to the vest.
Despite Francesa stating that Seton Hall has already started doling out offers, I don't see a quick end to the coaching hunt. I certainly hope there isn't a quick end. The University needs to take their time in their research, interviews and oh yeah, referrals. If Rick Pitino's referral counts for anything, Kevin Willard may have just climbed the ladder, currently sitting a rung below McCaffery and sharing space with Rice. Unfortunately, as the sweet sixteen tips-off tonight the Pirates aren't playing, however they're still being talked about. I guess that's the next best thing.