Hood impresses Flashes' Kennedy

By Allen Moff Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Shawn Hood became the first candidate to officially interview for the Kent State men's basketball program's head coaching post on Tuesday.

Hood spent the day with Golden Flashes director of athletics Laing Kennedy, who came away from the meeting highly impressed.

"Things went very well," said Kennedy. "I think he was pleased with what he saw, and we were pleased with what we saw."

Hood played point guard collegiately on the stellar Cleveland State teams of the mid 1980s, then served as an assistant coach on the Vikings' staff from 1988-94. He has spent the past seven seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers advance to the Final Four a year ago under head coach Dick Bennett.

The Boston native remained on interim coach Brad Soderberg's Wisconsin staff after Bennett abruptly retired early in the 2000-01 season. Soderberg and his assistants were not retained by the Badgers.

Hood seems to have been Kennedy's top choice since former Kent State coach Gary Waters left to take over the Rutgers program on Thursday. He was actually Kennedy's second pick for the position in '96, when the Flashes hired Waters.

"I wouldn't say (Hood) is definitely the No. 1 choice because someone could still pass him by, but he's done well for himself," said Kennedy. "He's certainly a frontrunner. He's coached at a very high level for a significant amount of time with a successful program that had to work to compete. I also like his character and what he represents personally."

Kennedy said he will be on the road conducting more interviews today. He would not reveal which candidates he'll meet, but possibilities include Penn State assistant Mike Boyd, Hampton head coach Steve Merfeld, Michigan State assistant Stan Heath and Iowa assistant Rich Walker.

"I have some really good candidates I'm recruiting, and I'd like to see if there's any mutual interest before naming them," said Kennedy. "There's been a tremendous amount of interest in this job, which is very flattering to me."

Kennedy still believes he won't need much time to choose Kent State's 21st men's basketball coach, and don't be surprised in the least if it's Hood.

"Who knows how things will turn out when we get down near the end of the process," said Kennedy. "But I feel very comfortable with the first person we've brought on campus."

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E-mail: amoff@recordpub.net

Phone: (330) 678-5460

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