Men’s basketball coach candidates down to three

Rachel Jones

KentWired Video

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After Joel Nielsen, Kent State director of athletics, announced last Monday he was beginning the search for the new men’s basketball head coach, the list of candidates has been narrowed to three. According to the Record-Courier, Nielsen has it down to Kent State interim head coach Rob Senderoff, Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals and Syracuse assistant coach Rob Murphy.

Rob Senderoff |

As the former associate head coach of the Flashes, Senderoff was the first, swift choice to swoop in as Ford’s replacement. While Senderoff currently stands in as the interim head coach, Nielsen said he made the decision not for convenience, but for comfort. Nielsen, who has seen Senderoff work with the players over the years, said he knows how much he means to the team and that it would be a good fit. Whether that fit is permanent has not been officially decided yet. Senderoff has been with the Flashes for six years, signing on as associate head coach in April 2008. But he has been coaching Division I men’s basketball for 14 years. During his time with the Flashes, Senderoff coached the team to 132 victories, an average of 22 wins per year.

Jeff Boals |

The Ohio State assistant head coach joined the Buckeyes in 2009, but he’s not a newbie at coaching college basketball in Ohio. Boals served as the associate head coach at Akron for three seasons starting in 2006. As the recruiting director, he even had a hand in obtaining this year’s standout for the Zips Zeke Marshall. Before that, he was the assistant coach at Robert Morris, working with post players and acting as the recruiting coordinator. Boals also coached at the University of Charleston, a Division II school, from 2003-2004 and 1996-1999. He graduated from Ohio University in 1995 and served as the assistant coach for the Bobcats for one season after that. During that time, Boals was teammates – and roommates – with Ford.

Rob Murphy |

As the assistant coach at Syracuse, Murphy has coached the Orange for six seasons. Before that, he was the head coach at Crockett Technical High School in Detroit. After coaching just two seasons, Murphy led the team – which had not won a game in the two seasons before Murphy took over – to the Class B State Championship in 2001. The Detroit Free Press named him All-Metro Coach of the Year. Former Kent State coach Jim Christian asked Murphy to join the Flashes’ staff in 2002. He accepted, leading Kent State to the MAC Tournament Championship finals and the National Invitation Tournament. During his two seasons with the Flashes, Murphy also mentored former Kent State player Antonio Gates, an All-American honorable mention. A Central State University graduate, Murphy served as a two-time team captain during his time on the men’s basketball team from 1992-1996.

While those candidates remain the “big three” for the time being, Xavier’s assistant coach Pat Kelsey and Cleveland State’s assistant coach Jayson Gee are also rumored as possible candidates. There is no word on when an official decision will be made.

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].