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College Sports: Men's basketball: Ex-Hoyas coach Esherick wants NMSU job

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posted on Feb, 18 2005 @ 01:53 PM
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Former Georgetown coach Craig Esherick has applied for the coaching job at New Mexico State.

"I'd be a heck of a coach for them," Esherick told The Albuquerque Tribune on Thursday. "But that's not my call."

Health problems forced NMSU coach Lou Henson to retire in January with a career record of 779-413, just 21 wins shy of becoming only the fifth coach in Division I history to win 800 games.

Henson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, two years ago. The cancer is now in remission and he was able to coach last season, but in September was hospitalized with viral encephalitis, a disease that left his right leg paralyzed.

Henson coached at New Mexico State, his alma mater, from 1966 to 1975, then spent 21 years at Illinois before retiring in 1996. That lasted only a year, with Henson returning to New Mexico State after Neil McCarthy was fired just before the start of the 1997-98 season.

Esherick, 48, coached at Georgetown from 1999 to 2004. His career record is 103-74.

He took over at Georgetown when legendary coach John Thompson retired. Esherick was fired by Georgetown in March after a 13-15 season, the Hoyas' third straight out of the NCAA Tournament.

Esherick participated in 20 NCAA tournaments as a player and coach. As an assistant coach he made three Final Fours and won a national championship.

"I think there is an awful lot of potential [at New Mexico State]," said Esherick, who is now a college basketball analyst for AOL Radio. "I think, clearly, I do want to get back into coaching."

New Mexico State athletic director McKinley Boston confirmed he has received Esherick's application as well as an application from former Clovis High and Texas Tech standout Bubba Jennings.

Jennings is now director of video operations for Texas Tech.

He previously coached for nine seasons at Artesia High School, leading the Bulldogs to two state championship titles.

Boston said he has encouraged NMSU interim head coach Tony Stubblefield to apply. Stubblefield has coached the Aggies to a 5-20 record.

Boston said he is two to three weeks from narrowing down the field of applicants. He plans to interview applicants and hire a coach by early April.

"I am committed to finding the best coach that I can afford," Boston said.



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