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Mhoops vs. Cornell Cornell head coach Steve Donahue discusses a call with the referee during Penn's 79-52 win over the Big Red. Donahue was an assistant coach at penn before moving on to Cornell. Credit: Fred David

Steve Bilsky may have told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the search is in the “final stages” for Penn’s next John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, but there’s some other coaching news out there related to the Ivy League.

Yesterday, Iowa introduced Fran McCaffery as its head coach at a press conference. Formerly the head coach at Siena, McCaffery played for Penn from 1979-82 and had been rumored as a candidate for the Penn job. However, in his introductory press conference, he demonstrated a love for Iowa.

“I made it clear from minute one that I wanted to be your coach,” McCaffery said at the press conference in Iowa City, Iowa. “When Iowa presented as an option, I was ecstatic.”

With McCaffery gone, Siena must now find a replacement. A logical candidate seems to be Cornell coach Steve Donahue. An opening at an upstate New York school that does give scholarships would likely entice Donahue to at least consider moving three hours east on Interstate 88.

But would Donahue take the job? He was rumored as a candidate to replace Bobby Gonzalez at Seton Hall, but Kevin Willard was hired yesterday. And according to The New York Post, Donahue “didn’t blow away the brass during an interview with the Pirates.”

Instead, he now looks to be one of the highest-profile candidates to take over the Saints’ program. ESPN Rumor Central said he “would be a slam-dunk hire for the small private school.” But as Albany Times Union columnist Pete Iorizzo wrote yesterday, Donahue — who is coming off a Sweet 16 run — is “maybe too hot for Siena.”

A better opportunity for Donahue is the opening at St. John’s. There are a slew of candidates that have been discussed as potential hires for the Red Storm. Apparently, Plan A is former UCLA coach and current ESPN analyst Steve Lavin, while Plan B is thought to be Boston College coach Al Skinner.

But the second tier of candidates includes Donahue, as well as former Penn and current Temple coach Fran Dunphy. Additionally, the Cornell Basketball Blog claims that Donahue is unlikely to take a mid-major job that doesn’t involve a move to the Philadelphia area, so perhaps he will stay at Cornell instead of leave for Siena if he doesn’t get the gig with the Red Storm.

Either way, Donahue has publicly stated that he has no plan to leave Cornell.

“No matter what you read, there’s nothing that I have even entertained that I would consider leaving Cornell for,” he told The Ithaca Journal.

But a word of caution about anything a coach says about leaving or not leaving his current job. While doing some research into the last search for a Penn coach, I came across this gem from The Daily Pennsylvanian:

“Brown coach Glen Miller, considered to be another of the leading candidates for the Penn job, also publicly stated his desire to keep his job this weekend.

“Miller told his hometown paper … that he plans on staying at Brown and working out a contract extension.

“Miller said he is not a formal candidate for the Penn job and does not plan on interviewing with Bilsky.”

That was written on April 17, 2006. Eight days later, Glen Miller was introduced as Penn’s head coach.

ZACH KLITZMAN is a senior history major from Bethesda, Md., and a former Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be contacted at

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