Conn. asst. interested in basketball opening

On a day when two of the top candidates withdrew their names from consideration for the vacant men’s basketball coaching position, Connecticut associate head coach Tom Moore expressed his desire to become the Bulls’ next head coach.

“I think any Big East job is a coveted job because of the history of the league,” Moore said. “I think South Florida has great untapped potential. All those things make it an attractive job, and I’m definitely interested in it.”

Although Moore is interested in replacing coach Robert McCullum, he has yet to have a conversation with a representative from the school or meet with Athletic Director Doug Woolard.

“I haven’t spoken (with anyone from) South Florida directly. They made some phone calls real early in the process to our Athletic Director (Anthony Hathaway), but I haven’t spoken with USF yet,” Moore said.Earlier in the day, South Alabama’s John Pelphrey announced he isn’t interested in leaving Mobile and Winthrop’s Gregg Marshall passed on the job late Sunday night.

Moore indicated he has been following the situation at USF closely.

One of the most appealing aspects of coming to USF for Moore is the ability to instantly become the face of the program in one of the nation’s dominant basketball conferences.

“Any time you have an opportunity to coach at a place where you could put your own stamp, it’s a unique challenge,” Moore said. “With South Florida being new to the league, whoever is fortunate enough to get the job will have a real neat opportunity.”

The 41-year-old has been with the Huskies for the past 13 seasons and was promoted to associate head coach during the fall of 2005. He has spent six years recruiting for the school and was influential in signing Rashad Anderson from Lakeland.

During his time in Connecticut, the Huskies have won two national championships, 12 postseason bids, eight Big East regular-season titles, five conference tournament crowns and a record of 340-99.

Prior to his career with Connecticut, Moore spent five seasons at Worchester State (Massachusetts) where he compiled a record of 76-59, the best five-year span at the school.

Moore has previously been rumored for other head coaching positions, but now feels ready to step out of the shadow of legendary Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun.

“I’d like to go back to being a head coach. I’ve had opportunities over the past three or four years to look at some really outstanding situations,” Moore said. “The opportunities and potential at South Florida speaks for itself.”

Moore has spent his entire life in the Northeast and said moving to Tampa would be a nice change of scenery for him and his family.

“My wife and I are up for anything if it’s a good situation,” Moore said. “We’ve been successful in recruiting down South … I think (USF) could be a fit.”

Along with Moore, the top candidates remaining for USF are former Virginia coach Pete Gillen, along with former St. John’s coaches Mike Jarvis and Fran Fraschilla.

The hiring of Jarvis is highly unlikely, as he became the first coach in Big East history to be fired during the season after illicitly paying a player, causing the Red Storm to forfeit every game Abe Keita played.