Notre Dame is close to naming Boston College coach Mik Aoki its next head coach, though the process has not yet been completed, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. An official announcement is expected early next week.
Reached by phone Wednesday morning, Aoki declined to comment on the negotiations. He did, however, refute a report on a blog last Tuesday night that the deal was done then.
"At the time that that blog report came out, which I think was on a Tuesday night, that was fiction," Aoki said. "There had been nothing offered, nothing accepted, basically nothing. I had interviewed, I don't know where Notre Dame was in their thing. Who else interviewed for it, I don't really necessarily know. But there was no offer even—it was completely false. At the time that report came out, that was totally and unequivocally untrue. "
Another source said Kent State coach Scott Stricklin had also interviewed for and been offered the Notre Dame job, but he opted to remain at Kent State, so the Irish set their sights on Aoki. Stricklin said Tuesday he will sign an extension at Kent State within the week, and he is happy to be staying at his alma mater.
Louisiana State assistant coach David Grewe had also been involved in the Notre Dame search but withdrew his name from consideration last week.
The Notre Dame job came open on June 14, when the school announced it had fired coach Dave Schrage after four seasons. When the Irish hired Schrage in 2006, it seemed like a great hire, as he had established a winning track record at Evansville (.546 winning percentage in four seasons), a similar private and academic-minded school. But the Irish failed to reach regionals in any of Schrage's four seasons.
Now Notre Dame is on the verge of hiring another respected and established head coach with a winning track record at a school with a similar profile. Aoki led the Eagles to regionals last year for the first time since 1967, and he guided BC back to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the second time in 2010, despite losing stars Tony Sanchez and Mike Belfiore from the 2009 team.
Aoki is familiar with the unique challenges and advantages of coaching at an expensive, private, Catholic school. He has built a strong foundation at BC in four years as the head coach despite the worst facilities in the ACC. This is one of the few circumstances where a coach would leave an ACC school for a Big East school, but the gap between BC and Notre Dame in facilities, resources and tradition is significant.
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