Source: O'Shea accepts 8-year deal to lead Bryant's foray into D-I

Ohio University's Tim O'Shea has accepted an eight-year, guaranteed contract to be the head coach at newly minted Division I member Bryant University, a source close to the coach said Thursday.

A news conference at the Smithfield, R.I., university could occur as early as Monday.

O'Shea, a former Boston College and Rhode Island assistant, coached Ohio for seven seasons and led the Bobcats to the 2005 MAC tournament title. In that year's NCAA tournament, Ohio lost to Florida; last March, Ohio played in the CBI tournament and lost a second-round game at Bradley.

O'Shea replaces Max Good, who left Bryant to join Loyola Marymount coach Bill Bayno's staff. Good was a former Bayno assistant at UNLV and was once the interim coach at UNLV after Bayno in 2000-01. Good coached Bryant for seven seasons, finishing with a 132-86 record and five straight Division II NCAA tournament appearances.

Bryant will play 11 games next season as a provisional member of the Northeast Conference. Bryant will become the conference's 12th member and play a full 18-game NEC schedule in 2009-10. Under a rule for new Division I members, Bryant won't be eligible for postseason play for the first four seasons of its membership. Beginning with the 2012-13 season, the Bulldogs will be eligible for postseason play.

O'Shea, who has a home in Rhode Island, was contacted by nearby Brown University and interviewed for openings at Bucknell, UMass and Providence. The Bobcats finished 20-13 last season, 9-7 in the MAC East. O'Shea won 19 or more games in four of his seven seasons as coach.

Nine-year assistant John Rhodes is the top candidate to replace O'Shea. Rhodes played at Ohio under Danny Nee, graduating in 1988 and then played professionally in Iceland. He went on to coach in Europe before becoming an assistant in the United State at St. Bonaventure, North Florida and then at Ohio under Larry Hunter prior to O'Shea getting the job. Rhodes was instrumental in recruiting former Bobcat players Brandon Hunter and Leon Williams, and the potential MAC player of the year next season in Jerome Tillman.

Promoting an assistant is not uncommon in the MAC; Kent State, Akron, Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio have all done so in recent years.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.