BEMIDJI - Bemidji State has narrowed the field of candidates for the head men's basketball coaching position to four, and athletic director Rick Goeb hopes to make a hire as soon as possible.
"We've got a great mix," Goeb said. "There's a very strong pool of applicants, and you can see that, I think. There's a great variety of guys in the mix."
The four finalists include: Illinois-Chicago associate head coach Al Biancalana, Central College (Iowa) head coach Mike Boschee, South Dakota State assistant coach Hansen and Washington State assistant coach Jeff Hironaka.
Among the four finalists, three are current Division-I assistant coaches and another is currently a head coach at the NAIA level.
"It's great that we have guys that come from different areas of coaching," Goeb said, adding it's nice that so many candidates applied from around the country.
The job has been vacant since former head coach Matt Bowen left for the position at Minnesota Duluth in May. Bowen helped build a solid foundation that had been struggling before he arrived in 2006.
In six years he was 64-102 overall but guided the Beavers to dizzying new heights this past season, compiling a 22-9 record, an NSIC championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Goeb said he hopes the new coach can build on that success while still making the program his own.
"We'll see which one fits the best with the university and with the community," he said. "That's mainly what we're going to be doing (during the interview process). We'd like to see what they can bring to the table."
Goeb said Bowen was great at the coaching aspect of the job but also excelled at getting the university and community involved and interested, which is something he'd like to see from the new coach.
Each candidate will be interviewed by Goeb, as well as by a board that includes many current coaches and university personnel.
And, importantly, they'll meet with returning members of the team.
"We'd like to give the team an opportunity to sit down and ask them questions," Goeb said. "It's important that they provide feedback for us."
The candidates will begin the interview process this week.