Former Ball State men's basketball coach Tim Buckley has emerged as a leading candidate for the open slot at Canisius.
Buckley went 93-87 overall and 57-51 in Mid-American Conference play in his six years at Ball State. He was fired March 15 with three years left on his contract after his team endured an injury plagued 10-18 season. It ended with an 80-72 loss at the University at Buffalo in the prequarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.
Buckley and West Virginia assistant Jerry Dunn, the former Penn State head coach, are the only two former Division I head coaches being interviewed by Canisius and would appear to be the top candidates. Reached on his cell phone at the Final Four, Buckley confirmed he was interested in the job but declined further comment.
Buckley's best season at Ball State was 2001-02, when the Cardinals finished 23-12 and posted upsets of Kansas and UCLA in the Maui Invitational to briefly crack the Top 25. Ball State then won the MAC West and received a bid to the NIT.
Since then, season-ending injuries to stars such as Theoren Smith and Peyton Stovall have derailed the program. Ball State finished 6-12 in the MAC.
Buckley, who was given a job in university advancement, was making $131,000 per year at the Muncie, Ind. school and would thus fit into the budget Canisius is advertising. The new Golden Griffins coach is likely to make a base salary of around $125,000, nearly $40,000 more than Mike MacDonald was paid this season.
Buckley was an assistant at Wisconsin, Ball State and Marquette before succeeding Ray McCallum as Ball State's head coach in 2000.