Who’s next? UMass back hunting for next men’s basketball coach

  • Boston Celtics coach Micah Shrewsberry shouts to his team during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game against the the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Rick Bowmer

  • Miami head coach Jim Larranaga, center, gives directions to his team late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 55-54. Assistant coach Chris Caputo stands behind Larranaga, third from right. Mark Wallheiser

  • Northeastern head coach Bill Coen watches as his team plays against Notre Dame during the second half of an NCAA tournament second round college basketball game, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Keith Srakocic

Published: 3/24/2017 11:07:34 PM

With Pat Kelsey’s sudden withdrawal in the rearview mirror, UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford has resumed his pursuit of the school’s next men’s basketball coach.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, at least three coaches who had been in consideration to varying degrees, are likely to still be considered.

They’re listed in alphabetical order, not likelihood of being hired.

Chris Caputo, Miami associate head coach — Well regarded throughout college basketball, the Elmhurst, New York, native is a 2002 graduate of Westfield State where he played basketball.

He’s been with Jim Larranaga since his George Mason days and was on the bench for the Patriots’ 2006 NCAA Tournament Cinderella run.

In 2014, Sports Illustrated listed him among assistant coaches most ready to move up.

Bill Coen, Northeastern — The longtime head Husky on Huntington Ave. is better known and respected among his peers than casual fans given Coen’s unassuming personality.

But his acumen as a tactician and a teacher have made him a popular clinician and made his Northeastern teams annually competitive.

Micah Shrewsberry, Boston Celtics assistant — He was more of a long-shot candidate initially as UMass turned its focus to Kelsey. But he’s likely in better shape in a restarted search.

NEW CANDIDATES — At Bramford’s press conference Thursday, he said he was open to considering new candidates.

It’ll be interesting if there’s any mutual interest between UMass and recently fired Indiana coach Tom Crean. When he was initially let go, he was rumored at Missouri, North Carolina State and other jobs to a lesser degree. If he wants to be back on the bench in 2017-18, he’s running out of open jobs.

KELSEY BREAKS SILENCE — Speaking to the Rock Hill Herald, Kelsey elaborated slightly on his change of heart. Kelsey, who interviewed and accepted the position without visiting UMass, said he has misgivings when he arrived.

“I just didn’t feel like it was the right fit once I had an opportunity to get up there,” Kelsey told the Herald. “I thought it was in the best interest of me and my family to remain at Winthrop.”

Adding to the already unusual situation was that before Kelsey informed Bamford of his change of heart, he was simultaneously employed by UMass and Winthrop as Kelsey hadn’t actually resigned from his old job.

“We never received a letter of resignation,” Winthrop athletic director Ken Halpin told the Herald. “So his contract has not changed. He and I never even discussed it. Right now, he’s our coach, under contract. That didn’t change through this whole process.”

Beyond the obvious implication that Kelsey had never wholly committed to taking the UMass job he’d accepted, it means that Winthrop doesn’t have to rehire him.

That makes UMass less likely to recoup or even pursue the $1 million buyout money in the memorandum of understanding Kelsey signed.

For starters, memorandums of understanding don’t always survive a legal challenge. Plus, UMass would be seeking $1 million from Kelsey, who made $250,000 a year over five years at Winthrop. He’s unlikely to have that much.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage

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