Rick Herdes to Kentucky Wesleyan?

Cole Claybourn, a sports reporter for the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, wrote on Wednesday that he heard that former USI coach Rick Herdes is interested in the Kentucky Wesleyan job recently vacated by Todd Lee, who accepted the job as associate head coach at Division I Grand Canyon University. The full story on Herdes and other KWC possibilities is here. Another blog post by Claybourn from late Thursday is here.

The Herdes report is intriguing.

Recall that USI forced Herdes to resign in May 2009 after the school reported NCAA violations that included providing extra benefits to a basketball player, when a former assistant coach bought airline tickets for that player; academic fraud that involved a man identified as Herdes’ father-in-law, and the assistant coach; and lying to investigators. The NCAA eventually placed USI on one year’s probation and fined it $2,500 in February 2011 (USI had already forfeited its victories in 2008-09 and the Great Lakes Valley Conference had banned it from postseason play for 2010-11). The NCAA also placed a two-year  “show cause” order on Herdes. That meant that if he was hired by an NCAA school, he would have to attend attend rules seminars and ethics training for those two years. Now that that order has expired, Herdes — who compiled a 200-59 record over eight years as USI’s coach and guided the Eagles to an Elite Eight berth and into the Division II title game in 2004 — is free to look for another coaching job.

Remember that KWC has left the Great Lakes Valley Conference and moved to a new conference for next season, the eight-team 10-team Great Midwest Athletic Conference, with several of its teams based in West Virginia and Ohio (USI played three G-MAC schools, Cedarville, Urbana and Virginia at Wise, this past season, although Urbana and Virginia at Wise are already leaving the conference after this season). But USI and KWC hope to continue their longtime rivalry, although it will probably be reduced to one game a year. If Herdes is hired by KWC, that would make this rivalry even more, um, interesting.

By the way, some of the other possibilities Claybourn listed — and he insisted he was only speculating — included Vincennes University coach Todd Franklin, former University of Kentucky player Saul Smith and Mount Vernon High School coach (and former USI star point guard) Marc Hostetter.

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