Iona to Speak With Fraschilla, Welsh
The Gaels, who won 21 games as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season, lost coach Fred Willard, who left to be the head coach at Seton Hall.
Citing sources, the Daily News said that Iona will meet with Fraschilla on Wednesday, the same day that Willard will hold his introductory press conference in South Orange, N.J., home of Seton Hall.
It seems as though New York-area teams are turning to coaches-turned-broadcasters. Reports of Iona's scheduled meetings with Fraschilla and Welsh come on the same day that St. John's agreed to a six-year deal with Steve Lavin, who will leave ESPN to return to the sideline.
Fraschilla, also an ESPN personality, is in New York to broadcast the NIT, which plays its final four at Madison Square Garden, just a few miles away from Iona's New Rochelle, N.Y., campus. Fraschilla is no stranger to New York's metropolitan area, having held the head coaching jobs at both St. John's (1996-98) and Manhattan (1992-96). He also was the head coach at New Mexico from 1999-2002.
Most recently, he has become prominent on ESPN, where he is a multifaceted analyst who has contributed to coverage of men's basketball, women's basketball and the NBA draft.
"I really do think Fran wants the job," a source told the Daily News.
The newspaper, however, said that initial phones calls seeking comment from Fraschilla were not returned.
Welsh coached Iona from 1995-98, compiling a 70-22 overall mark and taking it to the NCAA tournament in his final season, which led to his hire at Providence, where he spent 10 seasons. He made the NCAA tournament just twice with the Friars and was fired after the 2008 campaign.
The Daily News reported that a decision about the Gaels' new coach will not be made this week because Iona athletic director Pat Lyons is interested in talking to candidates at the Final Four.
Iona's new coach will be given a head start thanks to the school returning most of its roster from a successful season in 2009-10, though the challenge for any coach -- especially at the mid-major level -- is to maintain success through consistent recruiting.
Fraschilla, especially, has been lauded for his recruiting ability in New York City. Players he recruited at St. John's helped the school to some success after his firing.