Two weeks after letting Ryan Marks go, UTPA has a sense for who it wants its next men’s basketball coach to be.
Sources close to the school confirmed that North Carolina State assistant Rob Moxley and Alabama assistant Dan Hipsher are the two leading candidates for the coaching vacancy.
Moxley met with UTPA on Tuesday. Hispher, whose team was eliminated from the NIT last week, will meet with the school today, sources said.
Both have ties to Alabama, which is where UTPA Athletic Director Chris King worked before taking over in Edinburg. Mark Gottfried, formally the coach of the Crimson Tide, is now at North Carolina State and is Moxley’s boss. He was running the program when King was an assistant AD there. Hipsher is currently employed at Alabama.
CBSSports.com first reported that Moxley, Hipsher and Texas assistant Chris Ogden were candidates for the job. It is unclear if Ogden is being considered, or if there are other names on King’s list.
Moxley, known for his recruiting skills, is in his second year with the Wolfpack. He’s generally worked under veteran coach Bobby Lutz, mostly notably at Charlotte. Lutz is currently the associate head coach at NC State.
Hipsher was the coach at Akron from 1995-2004, piling up a 112-137 record in his nine seasons there. His teams didn’t make the NCAA Tournament or NIT when he was there. After departing from Akron, Hispher was an assistant at Arkansas and South Florida before going to Alabama.
The Broncs will join the Western Athletic Conference in July. They were paying Marks $91,000 a year, though that number figures to substantially increase for the new coach. King only said that the salary of the new coach would be “market value” among WAC schools.
Recently, UMKC, which is also joining the WAC next season, hired Louisville assistant Kareem Richardson as its new coach. He will get $250,000 a year.
The Broncs went 16-16 last season, 5-3 in the Great West Conference. It was their first time at or above .500 in five years. The team is losing four of its five leading scorers from last season. Or, in statistical terms, they are losing more than 60 percent of the 2,101 points they scored.
King said back in March when he announced that Marks’ contract wasn’t being picked up that he hoped to have a coach in place around the time of the Final Four. That event would be this weekend.
Indications are that the Broncs are still on track to hit that time frame. Through a spokesman, King declined to comment.