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Friday, April 20, 2001
Prosser is third coach to interview

Wake Forest athletics director Ron Wellman talked to Xavier's Skip Prosser Thursday. It was the third coach Wellman interviewed since Dave Odom left for South Carolina, sources said.

Prosser met with Wellman after Wellman interviewed Richmond's John Beilein on Tuesday. Wellman also talked with Wake Forest assistant coach Ernie Nestor, who has the support of the present players.

Sources within the Atlantic 10 said Wake Forest also inquired about Dayton's Oliver Purnell but Purnell hadn't talked to Wellman as of Friday. Sources said inquiries have been made on Gonzaga's Mark Few as well as Phoenix Suns assistant and former Wake Forest player Frank Johnson.

Prosser was the top candidate at Seton Hall but withdrew his name from consideration, and the Pirates hired Louis Orr from Siena. Seton Hall's athletics director, Jeff Fogelson, had hired Prosser at Xavier. Prosser consistently has said to friends that he feels comfortable at Xavier and would only leave for a can't-miss job. Sources said Prosser wouldn't necessarily go to Wake Forest if the job were offered. But Beilein and Nestor would likely accept the job if offered.

Wellman is expected to attend Saturday's spring football game. A live recruiting period where coaches can evaluate with recruits is still in effect this weekend, and the potential candidates are all expected to be on the road. An announcement could come as early as Saturday but is more likely to be next week.

Beilein has been seen as a natural fit at Wake Forest by coaches across the country. The two schools have similar, high academic standards and they regularly play each other during the season. Wake Forest edged Richmond in Virginia this past season.

Beilein, 48, led the Spiders to the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title, but a pending move to the Atlantic 10 prevented the Spiders from participating in the CAA tournament. Richmond didn't receive an NCAA Tournament at-large berth but did get an NIT bid. Beilein is 78-39 in four seasons as head coach.

He signed an extension two weeks ago after he withdrew his name from consideration for the Rutgers opening, a job that eventually went to former Kent State coach Gary Waters.

Beilein's extension pays him $400,000 until 2008, but he can get out of the contract for Wake Forest without a heavy penalty. However, Beilein is considered to be extremely happy at Richmond, where the Spiders are poised to be a threat in the A-10 in the next few seasons.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for

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