OSU trims candidate list to Seth Greenberg, Bob Thomason and Jay John

Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart intends to hire Oregon State's new basketball coach as early as today, or Wednesday at the latest. The successor to Ritchie McKay will come from a short list that includes Seth Greenberg, Bob Thomason and Jay John.

Greenberg, 45, is head coach at South Florida in Tampa. Thomason, 53, is head coach at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. John, 43, is an assistant coach at Arizona.

'I have a candidate in mind,' Barnhart said Monday, declining to indicate his first choice. 'There are still some things to cover Ñ reference checking, the financial package, assistant coaches and so on. We are working our way through that.'

Greenberg, Thomason and John visited Corvallis last weekend. So did Oregon State's two high school recruits, 6-5 Justin Holt and 6-10 Kevin Field, both of Tacoma. The two seem comfortable in honoring their letters of intent, Barnhart says.

Barnhart also expects 6-7 Kerbrell Brown of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College to stay aboard. Luke MacKay, a 6-3 Australian from Lon Morris JC in Jacksonville, Texas, who has offered a verbal commitment to OSU, says he will decide after talking with the new coach.

Barnhart spoke with 'at least 15 coaches' in the past 10 days and narrowed the list to three before the weekend. Among those not in the final group are Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon, with whom Barnhart was impressed but who has no West Coast ties, and Tim Floyd, the former Chicago Bulls coach who indicated he probably will remain out of coaching for another year.

Greenberg is 198-156 in 12 years as head coach at Long Beach State and South Florida. His brother, Brad, is former director of player personnel for the Trail Blazers. South Florida, a member of Conference USA, went 19-13 last season.

Thomason is 222-185 in 14 years at Pacific. The Tigers were 20-10 this season, including 11-7 in the Big West Conference.

John is a Tucson native who had two one-year stints as an assistant at Oregon Ñ in 1985-86 under Don Monson and 1997-98 under Ernie Kent. John is in his fourth year as an assistant to Lute Olson at Arizona. He also has been an assistant at the University of San Francisco and at Butler. His only head coaching experience was at Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College.

'There are three categories when you hire a coach Ñ the no-brainer, the solid choice and taking a chance,' Barnhart said. Football coach Dennis Erickson 'was a no-brainer,' he said. 'We are somewhere between solid and a little bit of a chance on our guy. That said, I am confident he will turn out to be a heck of a coach for us.'

The new coach will have two scholarships left. If he uses both, the Beavers will have three rides to offer the following season.

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