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Jim Les fired, university interviewing candidates

It’s been 19 tumultuous days since the departure of Bradley’s ninth head basketball coach, Jim Les.

In that time, many people have been linked to the job. But after two-and-a-half weeks, the position remains open.      

“Bradley will aggressively pursue a new head coach with outstanding leadership skills,” Athletics Director Michael Cross said in a statement. “One with values that are aligned with the university’s and modeled for our student-athletes. We fully expect to hire a coach who will also provide our student-athletes the opportunity for both a distinctive education and a championship experience.”

Internet forums have run rampant with ideas and rumors about who will occupy Les’ old office at the start of next year’s season.

One candidate, Rob Jeter, was reportedly tendered the job for, reportedly, a large sum, but he turned it down.

“It’s always flattering to have other people express interest in your abilities and to have them recognize what we have been building in Milwaukee,” Jeter said in a statement. “We talked a lot about trust and family as we were winning games down the stretch.”

Jeter won the Horizon League Coach of the Year with Wisconsin-Milwaukee after he led them to a share of the league regular season crown and an NIT appearance.

“I have a great basketball family in Milwaukee that I trust,” Jeter said. “Our group of young men is very special and I want to be there with my guys and our fans in Milwaukee to take this team to even greater heights.”

Other names linked to the job are a mix of current head coaches and assistants at major programs.

Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne coach Dane Fife has declined to comment to the Fort Wayne media on the job after a report that he had interviewed for it was published on pjstar.com.

“I will not discuss a job other than the one I have. I will not discuss jobs that are not currently mine,” Fife told a Fort Wayne TV station.

In addition to Fife, possible contenders for the job, according to various media outlets are Paul Lusk, an assistant at Purdue, Matthew Graves, an assistant at Butler, Mark Montgomery, an assistant at Michigan State and Scott Sutton, head coach at Oral Roberts.

Gonzaga’s Ray Giacoletti, an East Peoria native, has expressed interest but has not heard from Bradley. He interviewed for the job the last time it was open in 2002.

Bradley conducting the search through Parker Executive Search. The firm specializes in high-level coaches and administrators.