Providence coach Tim Welsh told ESPN.com and ESPN Radio's "College Hoops Today" on Saturday that the school approached him about an extension to his contract, which has four years remaining, making it even more enticing him for to stay at Providence for the foreseeable future.
Welsh said that he was not interested in the St. John's job and that he would stay at Providence. Welsh and Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt are reportedly the top two candidates St. John's will pursue. Hewitt told ESPN.com earlier this season that he didn't want to leave Atlanta and Georgia Tech after the Yellow Jackets had given him an extension every season.
Welsh said athletic director Bob Driscoll and president Father Phillip Smith recently made the initial inroads, a sign that the school is committed to staving off another Big East school from making a play for Welsh's services.
If St. John's can't get Hewitt or Welsh, then Dennis Wolff of Boston University, Bobby Gonzalez of Manhattan, Bob McKillop of Davidson, Jim Baron of Rhode Island and former North Carolina coach Matt Doherty likely will become candidates.