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UB OFF TO INDY IN COACH SEARCH

The road to the next University at Buffalo women's basketball coach may take a turn in Indianapolis.

Paul Vecchio, UB's assistant athletics director for communications, will be at the Women's Final Four this weekend. The national semifinals in men's and women's basketball are considered the biggest and best job fairs to find college basketball coaches.

Though Vecchio will not be conducting official interviews (the job is not officially posted externally until April 5), he will meet with several potential candidates to discuss the program at UB and possibly encourage them to formally apply.

The school has been contacting coaches to set up informal meetings and gauge interest with as many as eight such meetings scheduled for this weekend. In essence, the athletics department is doing what most college coaches do with potential student-athletes -- sell the program and recruit potential candidates. Of the names that have surfaced, the Bulls athletic department seems to be looking at coaches with strong ties to national programs.

One potential applicant is former Tennessee standout Michelle Marciniak. As a point guard with the Lady Vols, she scored 1,004 career points with 266 rebounds and 452 assists. She helped the Lady Vols to two Southeastern Conference titles and the 1996 national championship in which she was named the Most Valuable Player.

Marciniak, who played six years of professional basketball in the ABL and WNBA, has been an assistant coach at South Carolina for the past three seasons.

"I have been contacted by the athletic department and the first thing I'll say is that Buffalo is a great school and it's a privilege to be considered," Marciniak said. "The gist of the conversation at the Final Four will be an introduction to the school and the program and that's pretty much it.

"I'm absolutely interested in a head coaching position. We'll just see what happens. I'm looking for a place that's the right fit for me."

Another name from the mid-1990s surfaced in the process -- Jennifer Rizzotti. The former point guard for Connecticut, who was on the national title team in 1995 and was named the Associated Press Player of the Year, has been the head coach for Hartford for the past six seasons.

Though UB was interested, she reportedly took her name out of the mix. Rizzotti is expecting her first baby this month and wanted to stay in Hartford.

Former Canisius player and current Siena coach Gina Castelli remains a possibility. Her name has been bantered about Alumni Arena, though it's unclear whether UB has contacted her about the position.
e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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