College Basketball Insider

Former Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz interviews for Charleston job

Former Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz has interviewed with Charleston president Glenn McConnell in the past 48 hours and remains a candidate to be the Cougars' next head coach, sources told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

Lutz is one two candidates known to have interviewed at Charleston since Anthony Johnson withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday after a 2011 arrest stemming from a domestic dispute was brought to the school's attention. That development essentially forced Charleston to restart its search considering the other finalist, Wofford coach Mike Young, had already also removed his name from consideration.

Clemson assistant Earl Grant is the other candidate to recently interview at Charleston.

Sources told CBSSports.com that he was on Charleston's campus Friday.

Lutz has always been the most accomplished of the candidates under consideration thanks to the fact that he led Charlotte to five NCAA tournaments in a seven-year span from 1998-99 to 2004-2005 while competing in the same league, for most of those seasons, as Rick Pitino (Louisville), John Calipari (Memphis), Tom Crean (Marquette) and Bob Huggins (Cincinnati). Charlotte's move from C-USA to the Atlantic 10 before the 2005-2006 season changed the recruiting landscape and proved problematic for the program, which made a coaching change to Alan Major in 2009. Charlotte has not participated in the NCAA Tournament (or even been on the bubble) since Major replaced Lutz.

Lutz is now Mark Gottfried's top assistant at North Carolina State.

The only problem for Lutz at Charleston is that sources have told CBSSports.com that McConnell is facing internal and external pressure to hire a minority to replace Doug Wojcik,who was fired for cause earlier this month after multiple investigations uncovered allegations of verbal and physical assaults on players and staffers. McConnell was appointed the 22nd president of Charleston last March in a move that drew heavy criticism from students, faculty and the NAACP -- mostly because of his record of promoting Confederate history. As detailed previously at InsideHigherEd.com, McConnell once owned a shop that sold memorabilia of the South's rebellion, is a supporter of flying the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds, and has been photographed dressed as a Confederate general. All of this -- combined with how the school's trustees reportedly ignored its own search committee, which did not recommend McConnell for president -- led to protests on campus and an unfavorable spotlight on the school, and the thought, sources told CBSSports.com, is that McConnell could alleviate some of the criticism by hiring a black basketball coach to replace the white coach he just fired.

Grant, it should be noted, is African-American.

But Lutz's resume could be enough to trump that reality.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and college basketball insider for the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts an award-winning radio show in Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two sons and two dogs.
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