Seton Hall men’s basketball coach Kevin Willard, top target for the Maryland vacancy, reflects on the future

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard is considering his future as Maryland has approached him as a prime target for his coaching job, sources told ESPN.

According to sources, no deal has been agreed yet, but the two sides are in talks.

Following Seton Hall’s 69-42 loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, Willard admitted there’s a chance he won’t coach the Pirates next season – even beating the former assistant and current Saint Peter’s coach, Shaheen Holloway, a former Seton Hall star, in front of players, as his replacement.

“I’m giving you exactly what I can tell you,” Willard told reporters. “I have an agent I haven’t spoken to yet. I don’t know who he’s talking to. I have absolutely no idea. But when I get home, I’ll talk to my agent and discuss things with my agent.

“I have no idea [if things will be resolved soon]. I literally haven’t – I’ve had three different agents in the last month. So my original agent (Jordan Bazant) who I had for 12 years went into television. I’ll be honest with you. If I’m not here next year I would love it, if Shaheen Holloway is here it would be the best thing that could happen to me.”

Willard, who has been at Seton Hall for 12 seasons, has been considered a favorite for the Maryland search since the spot opened in early December following Mark Turgeon’s retirement. The Terrapins approached Alabama’s Nate Oats early in the process, sources told ESPN, but that wasn’t a starter due to Oats’ massive buyout. USC’s Andy Enfield took his name out of the running when he agreed to a new deal with the Trojans earlier this month.

In recent weeks, the two coaches who seemed to stand out from the crowd were Willard and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, a Maryland native who led the Fighting Irish to a first-four win over Rutgers and a win in of the first round, Alabama led on Friday. They face No. 3 seed Texas Tech on Sunday.

But it’s Willard who emerged as the favourite.

A Long Island native, Willard played college ball in western Kentucky and Pittsburgh before beginning his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics under Rick Pitino. He followed Pitino to Louisville, where he spent six seasons as an assistant coach before taking the job as head coach at Iona. In 15 seasons as head coach, Willard has appeared in five NCAA tournaments and won a share of the 2020 Big East regular-season title.

He is the son of Ralph Willard, who has been a coach for nearly 40 years, including as head coach at Western Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Holy Cross.

https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/33545343/sources-seton-hall-men-basketball-coach-kevin-willard-top-target-maryland-vacancy-mulls-future Seton Hall men’s basketball coach Kevin Willard, top target for the Maryland vacancy, reflects on the future

Joel McCord

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