MILWAUKEE — After various false reports circulated Monday, Marquette interim athletic director Bill Cords gathered the media Thursday to provide an update on the coaching search.
Other than Cords announcing he will be staying on as athletic director until at least this time next year, not much came out of the over 20-minute press conference.
Cords, who served as Marquette’s athletic director from 1987-2007, took back over on an interim basis following Larry Williams’ departure in December. He was approached about staying an additional year prior to Buzz Williams, as the university wants to let new president Dr. Michael Lovell take care of other pressing needs before focusing on athletics.
"I didn’t hesitate at all," Cords said. "All I said was that I will stay here for as long as I am needed. When that was presented, I didn’t hesitate any longer than when (interim university president) Father Wild came and asked me if I would come and help him."
Cords wouldn’t discuss the candidacy of Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart or any other interested coach. Multiple media reports had Smart pegged as the program’s new coach, which obviously turned out to be false. FOXSportsWisconsin.com reported Monday that nothing was imminent as far as naming a head coach.
"I can neither confirm or deny it," Cords said when asked if Smart had been contacted by Marquette. "That’s the best I can do.
"I can say this, a friend of mine said, ‘Congratulations. You are the only person to get with Shaka Smart and hire him.’ That’s the first I knew about anything."
Marquette has been searching for a new men’s basketball coach since Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech last Friday. Cords was asked what he is looking for in a head coach and if being an established head coach is a requirement.
"The criteria is we are going to get the best possible coach we can find," Cords said. "The program is the strongest it has ever been. A solid base, foundation, support, everything. Therefore, our pool is good. It is stronger and better by far than it has been. We are going to have an opportunity to find the best coach we can find.
"We’ve had a very high level of interest. I’m very happy with that."
Because the program’s last two coaches have left for other jobs , Cords was asked if finding a coach that considers Marquette a destination job was a priority. Tom Crean’s decision to go to Indiana was seemingly a no-brainer, leaving Williams heading to Virginia Tech as the puzzling one.
"We’re not a stepping stone," Cords said. "I think there was one time where you might say that, but I don’t think we are now."
Cords also addressed the comments Buzz Williams reportedly made about the reconfigured Big East conference being one of the reasons why he decided to bolt.
"I was disappointed in Coach’s comments about the conference and about FOX Sports," Cords said. "FOX Sports has done everything they have possibly can. They are a well-led, ambitious, energetic network that is broadening its base and broadening its program. Every one of our games last year was accessible. I think we are in great hands with FOX Sports, and they will do what it takes."
Assistant coach and veteran NCAA head coach Jerry Wainwright is the only member of Williams’ coaching staff still with the program. He has agreed to stay on to guide the players through the transitional period.