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Coaching search takes new shape

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East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton in interviewed by media members after Friday's special Board of Trustees meeting on the ECU campus.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, March 11, 2018

An East Carolina interim athletics director may not be solely in charge of finding the Pirates a new basketball coach.

East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton floated multiple ideas in regard to handling the basketball coaching search on Friday, after the special board meeting to officially part ways with athletics director Jeff Compher.

“Time is of the essence, and we certainly understand that,” Staton said of the hoops hire. “I hope as early as next week I will be announcing the appointment of a special council to the chancellor.

“I don’t know that we will take the traditional route that everyone is assuming of an interim (AD) who will step in and do that; and it may be under a different format,” he said.

Compher, who is owed a $1.26 million reduced contract buyout and will remain under contract until May 1, will not be a lead voice in hiring the new coach. He spent part of last weekend traveling and focusing on potential coaching candidates, but lead roles for the search have shifted to other administrators and advisers.

“He will continue to oversee the operations of athletics on our campus, but we mutually agreed that Jeff is going to step back from the basketball search and we intend to move forward,” Staton said.

ECU was led for most of this season by interim coach Michael Perry. The Pirates finished with a 10-20 record after Thursday’s night loss in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Former head coach Jeff Lebo resigned on Nov. 29, shortly into his eighth season.

Leading candidates for the vacancy include Joe Dooley and Bobby Lutz. Perry has made a public appeal to keep the job.

Staton said he planned to use the weekend to gain more clarity on how to handle the coaching search moving into a new week.

“After the events (Friday), it is my intention to have conversations with some people who may be able to be on a special council to the chancellor to provide me with advice and assistance as we move forward, and particularly into the basketball coach search and the search for the next AD,” he said. “Hopefully next week we can be in a position to make some further announcements about that.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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