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CSU Search Party To Hit N.M.

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Menzies, Neal Will Be Interviewed Today

Colorado State officials are flying from the Front Range to the Land of Enchantment today to interview two candidates for their men’s basketball coaching vacancy, the Journal has learned.

Multiple sources confirmed that CSU administrators will interview University of New Mexico assistant coach Craig Neal, then head to Las Cruces to interview New Mexico State head coach Marvin Menzies today.

Neither Neal nor Menzies returned phone messages from the Journal on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, Neal said he would not comment about the CSU job, but that it was “a credit to the success that coach (Steve) Alford’s had with the program (at UNM),” that his name was being mentioned.

Former NMSU regent chairman Bob Gallagher said he spoke with Menzies and athletic director McKinley Boston on Thursday, and he commented to the Journal on Menzies’ behalf.

“Marvin reached out to me as a friend,” Gallagher said. “There is serious interest on the part of Colorado State in Marvin. Is there interest on Marvin’s part? That’s premature to say at this point. The picture should be much clearer in the next 48 hours.”

Gallagher would not comment on whether he knew if Menzies is being interviewed today.

Menzies, 50, is 102-68 in five seasons at NMSU and has led the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament twice.

He was an assistant at Louisville for two years before coming to New Mexico State. He was also an assistant under Lon Kruger at UNLV, with Henry Bibby at USC and Steve Fisher at San Diego State.

Neal, 48, has been at UNM for five seasons, all under Alford. He was an assistant under Alford for three seasons at Iowa and spent eight years with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors — four as a scout and four as an assistant coach.

The CSU job opened when Tim Miles left after five seasons to take the head coaching position at Nebraska late last month. Miles rebuilt the Rams from a national doormat to an NCAA Tournament team. CSU went 20-12 this season and lost to Murray State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham hasn’t said who is on the school’s short list, but current assistants Craig Smith and Niko Medved both interviewed for the job Tuesday. Both have been with the Rams for five years.

Smith is the interim head coach. He has not been a head coach at the Division I level, but was at Mayville (N.D.) State, where he rebuilt a program that went 1-27 the season before his arrival.

Smith led Mayville to the NAIA national tournament three straight years, and into the title game his final season. He was named NAIA national coach of the year, then joined Miles at CSU in 2007.

CBSSports.com reported that Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Eustachy and Weber State head coach Randy Rahe have talked to Colorado State about the job. St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap also has been reported to having interest in the position.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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