ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Craig Neal is turning to a familiar face from a familiar place to fill its final coaching vacancy.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team is set to hire Alan Huss, a former Creighton basketball player who has been the head coach the past four seasons at La Lumiere School, a prep school program in La Porte, Ind.
Huss’ hire is pending final approval from the university’s human resources department and should join the staff by early September.
La Lumiere, a prep school with plenty of top-level basketball talent in recent years, is where current Lobo center Obij Aget played prior to attending UNM and also the prep school home of former Lobo great Darington Hobson.
“I’ve seen Alan as a great possible addition to our staff for some time now,” Neal said in a release from the school. “Now is the right time for him, and our program, to add Alan to the Lobo family. He is really going to help us in our recruiting efforts regionally and nationally. I think he’s going to bring a lot of experience from being a head coach and building a program into a national power.”
Huss, who played at Creighton for Dana Altman, said he is excited about the opportunity to coach at the college level with Neal.
“It’s an incredible opportunity as a coach to join the Lobos, and I couldn’t be happier,” Huss said in a release from UNM. “I’ve known Coach Neal for a decade, and to be able to join his staff is really exciting. It’s a national program with a great fan base, and I can’t wait to help the program continue to compete for championships.”
Huss may not be coming to Albuquerque alone, either. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement of Huss’ hiring, La Lumiere small forward Sam Logwood, a 6-foot-6 small forward who had originally signed to play at Auburn for former head coach Tony Barbee before he was fired after the 2014 season, had already scheduled a recruiting visit to UNM for this coming weekend. When Auburn hired head coach Bruce Pearl, Logwood requested and was granted a release from his National Letter of Intent from Auburn and would be immediately eligible to play for UNM this coming season.
The Lobos, which two months ago appeared headed for being over the NCAA scholarship limit of 13, have since learned that New Zeleand power forward Tohi Smith-Milner did not qualify academically and will instead be attending a junior college in Florida and forward Merv Lindsay, a junior who transferred two seasons ago from Kansas, announced last month he will transfer from the program.
Logwood, who has not officially committed, is expected to according to a report from CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, who wrote on Tuesday afternoon, “former Auburn signee Sam Logwood will follow him (Huss), multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.”
Other national media and recruiting analysts took to Twitter to praise Huss’ recruiting ability on Tuesday afternoon. Among them, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted, “Huss is a quality hire for Craig Neal and Lobos. Did a terrific job recruiting/coaching at La Lumiere.”
Huss is a quality hire for Craig Neal and Lobos. Did a terrific job recruiting/coaching at La Lumiere.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 12, 2014
UNM currently sits at 12 used scholarships for the coming season with two of those being utilized by transfers who will have to sit out the coming season in forward Tim Williams (Samford) and guard Elijah Brown (Butler).
Prior to coaching at at La Lumiere, where he was also assistant admissions director, Huss coached at Culver Military Academy. He will fill the UNM vacancy left by Craig Snow, who earlier this summer left the Lobos program to take over as head coach at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.
UNM must still fill the vacant video administrator job left vacant when Brandon Mason followed Snow to Highlands to be an assistant coach there.