Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Marist search reveals four preliminary candidates

Wagner head coach Bashir Mason is reportedly among frontrunners for head coaching vacancy at Marist, which has zeroed in on four names to succeed Mike Maker. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

Two weeks after deciding to make a change in the leadership of its men's basketball program, Marist College has reportedly seen four prospective candidates emerge to be the next head coach of the Red Foxes, as per Rich Thomaselli, who covers Marist for Hudson Valley Sports Report.

Athletic director Tim Murray has continued to conduct his search for a successor to Mike Maker, who was relieved of his duties on March 5 after four seasons, and has scheduled three more this week, but sources have told Thomaselli that four names have emerged following Murray's first round of interviews.

Bashir Mason, the current head coach at Wagner College, is perhaps the most recognizable of the quartet, having led the Seahawks to a record of 110-79 over six seasons since replacing Dan Hurley in 2012. Still among the youngest head coaches in the nation at just 34 years of age, Mason has ties to Marist as well, having spent two seasons on staff under Chuck Martin from 2008 to 2010. The Jersey City native is known for his defensive mentality, and presided over the Northeast Conference's second-most efficient defense this season. He also brings a winning pedigree, with five winning seasons and a pair of National Invitation Tournament appearances under his watch on Staten Island.

Tom Pecora, the former head coach at Hofstra and Fordham, and presently the associate head coach on Baker Dunleavy's staff at Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rival Quinnipiac, is another of the four known candidates. At 60 years old, Pecora is clearly the oldest candidate in Marist's pool, but would bring with him the gravitas of proven success in recruiting the New York metropolitan area, something the Red Foxes have shied away from in recent years. Pecora was fired in 2015 after compiling a 44-106 record in five seasons at Fordham after a nine-year run with more positive results at Hofstra, but indicated a desire to return to coaching after a two-year stint in the broadcast booth. In his first year on staff at Quinnipiac, he became the point man for several of the Bobcats' incoming recruits next season, including a pair of local guards in Tyrese Williams of Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx and Long Island's Savion Lewis, who led Half Hollow Hills East to a state runner-up finish.

Tobin Anderson is a proven winner in the Division II ranks, having guided nearby St. Thomas Aquinas to a 117-43 record in his five years in Rockland County, winning three consecutive East Coast Conference championships and guiding the Spartans to the Division II Tournament in each of those seasons. Much like Tim Cluess at Iona, the 44-year-old has won seemingly everywhere he has been, including at Division III institutions Hamilton and Clarkson, compiling 185 wins in twelve seasons between the two schools and winning four conference titles in a span of six years, from 2004 to 2009. Anderson has experience in the MAAC as well, coming in the form of a two-year stint from 2011 to 2013 on the staff of Mitch Buonaguro at Siena.

Finally, Patrick Beilein, who interviewed at Marist in 2014 when the school ultimately decided to hire Maker, is once again in consideration following a second straight 20-win season at Le Moyne College, the Division II school once piloted by his father, John, the current University of Michigan coach for whom Patrick played at West Virginia and served on staff as an assistant in Ann Arbor. The junior Beilein, who recently turned 35, will lead Le Moyne into battle Tuesday afternoon in a Division II Tournament quarterfinal against West Texas A&M, and has guided the Dolphins to a 27-6 record thus far this year. Overall, he is 91-57 over five seasons between Le Moyne and West Virginia Wesleyan.

More information will be posted in relation to the Marist coaching search, which is reportedly being conducted through the Parker search firm, as it becomes available.

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