Over the next few weeks, USU Eastern Athletic Director Dave Paur and the rest of coaching search committee will be sifting through nothing but resume after resume as part of their search to fill the vacancy with the men's basketball team.
The head coaching position, which was posted nationally on websites, including the NCAA and NJCAA, has gathered 157 applicants over a 30-day period with coaches looking to throw their name in the hat with the hope of being named head coach for the USU Eastern Golden Eagles team. Paur said the position has attracted the attention of potential candidates from all over the nation and as far away as England. The experience listed on the resumes varies from each candidate with some having years of head coaching experience to those looking to try and make a name for themselves on the junior college level.
The reasoning for the large number of applicants could be a number of different things, Paur said, but the allure of a head coaching job may be the key.
"This is an opening for a head coaching position," Paur said. "There's not a lot of positions for head coaches out there in the world. People may be able to look at this job and Price as a destination place."
Paur and Brad King, USU Eastern vice chancellor for administration and advancement, who is acting as the chairperson of the search committee, said they are hoping to have the position filled by the first or second week of April.
In the job posting, King said the head coaching position requires a bachelors degree and experience, which includes a track record as a coach at a previous institution. Other key factors that will be looked at include player management, discipline, creating academic goals for student-athletes, the ability to recruit prospective athletes and more.
"Experience is probably the biggest factor in who will be chosen for the job," Paur said.
King said the process would be broken down into parts with a group of people going through the resumes and eliminating the ones that are not qualified for the position. Then the search committee, which consists of two faculty members, two members of the athletic department, a student and a supervisor, would continue to whittle the number of resumes down to anywhere between six to 10. Those making the cut would then be interviewed over the phone by the committee followed by another cut down to three or four applicants. The final applicants would then be brought in for interviews to visit the campus and city as well as meeting with the search committee.
The committee would then make their final recommendation to USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson, who holds the final say on whether to hire the prospective coach or not, King said.
The recent success the program has seen over the past three years has lifted the profile of the college. After taking over as head coach for the 2007-08 season through the 2009-10 season, Chris Craig helped guide the mens team to one of their best seasons to date finishing third in the NJCAA tournament in 2010. After Craig left to take an assistant coach job with the University of Northern Colorado, Brad Barton was named as the interim head coach heading into the 2010-11 season. Barton's team finished 23-8 overall and after the season concluded the interim tag was removed and Barton was named head coach.
Tragically Barton was found dead in his apartment on Oct. 4, 2011. Brian Edelstein, who was originally going to serve as an assistant on Barton's staff, was quickly thrust into the position as interim head coach this season.
After the final game of the season against North Idaho College on March 3, Edelstein said he wouldn't be back to coach the men's team next season. He had guided the team to a 16-13 record. He said he would research his options for where he would be coaching next, but wasn't surprised when he was delivered the news of having to step down as coach.
"It's just the life of a head coach," Edelstein said after the 80-79 overtime loss to NIC. "As a coach you never know where you'll be for the next season."
After going through three head coaches over a matter of three years, the hope for Paur, King and the rest of the USU Eastern Athletic Department is to find a coach who will help provide stability for the men's program after suffering through the tragedy of losing a beloved coach and dealing with NJCAA sanctions preventing postseason play this season.
"We hope we will find someone who wants to stay and help build the program back up," King said. "With a situation like this, I wish we could read minds," he joked.