LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – As the University of Tennessee’s search for a women’s basketball coach seems to be focusing elsewhere, Louisville coach Jeff Walz said Wednesday he has heard nothing from Tennessee about its opening and at this point has no reason to expect to.
Walz has been vacationing in Colorado with his family and said in a phone interview that he’s doing all the things he would normally do when a postseason begins: staying in contact with players and recruits, planning to start offseason workouts soon and moving forward as the Louisville basketball coach, which is all he has ever said he was doing.
“The guy that put this Tweet out (last week) said somebody within Louisville (was prepared to lose Walz as coach),” it’s just social media today," Walz said. "Somebody puts something out there, and people assume there has to be truth to it. I don’t know where it came from. I have not heard of anything and don’t have any idea about anything with (the Tennessee job). So I’m just sitting here doing what I do.”
Asked if he thought he was under consideration by Tennessee, he said he didn’t know.
There was at least enough to the story originally that Walz and Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra sat down to talk about things, though not Tennessee specifically, after which Tyra told WDRB on Sunday, "I think he’s clear on how we feel about him and what he’s done for our program and what we can do going forward."
An ESPN.com poll of fans asked who Tennessee should hire? Walz still leads the poll, but with just 18 percent of the vote. ESPN analyst Kara Lawson and Kellie Harper of Missouri State, who was a point guard at Tennessee, both drew 16 percent.
Several Tennessee outlets reported Wednesday that Walz will not be a candidate, with the speculation that UT didn’t want to spend the amount of money it likely would take to get him to Knoxville. The school has contacted Harper, a former UT point guard who guided Missouri State to the tournament last season.
After Louisville’s loss to Connecticut in the NCAA Elite Eight on Sunday, Walz said he planned to be the coach at Louisville next season “unless there’s a pink slip out there that I don’t know about.”
Walz has compiled a record of 332-99 in 12 seasons and has led the program to the Elite Eight five times in the past eight years, with three Final Four appearances and two trips to the NCAA championship games, both of them losses to UConn.
He’ll head out for Tampa and the women’s Final Four later this week, where he’ll attend several award functions with Louisville All-American Asia Durr.
And it appears he’ll do so as the Louisville coach and not as a candidate at Tennessee, unless something changes rather dramatically.
"We love Louisville and have built something special here," Walz said. "And I'm excited about what's ahead of us."
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