BATON ROUGE -- LSU assistant men's basketball coach Nikita Johnson is expected to be a candidate for the head men's basketball coach opening at the University of New Orleans, officials at UNO and LSU said Monday."Nikita has an advantage because I know who he is," UNO athletic director Jim Miller said.
...Johnson was an assistant at UNO from 1998 through 2004 and worked for more than a year under Miller, who became athletic director in January, 2003.
has been at LSU
for the last two seasons after recruiting the nucleus of the current UNO team.
Monte Towe, who has been UNO's head coach the last five seasons, has said he
is going to become the associate head coach at North Carolina State, which recently hired former N.C. State player and Detroit Pistons assistant Sidney Lowe to be its head coach.
"No one has contacted me from UNO
, but off the top of my head I would say yes I would be interested," Johnson
said Monday night from his
office at LSU
."I'm very aware of a lot of things going on with the UNO
program, and I feel that I could have a great working relationship with the administration there."LSU
coach John Brady, who is a former UNO
assistant coach, said Monday afternoon that he
thought UNO would likely contact Johnson
and that Johnson
may be interested.
"But as of today, no one from UNO
has contacted me about Nikita Johnson
," Brady said.
Towe retained Johnson
from the staff of Joey Stiebing, who was fired after the 2000-01 season despite going 16-11 and winning Sun Belt coach of the year honors.
...Johnson recruited or helped recruit UNO's top returning players for the 2006-07 season -- 6-foot-0 junior guard Bo McCalebb of New Orleans, 6-10 junior center Ben Elias of Rickards High in Tallahassee, Fla., and 6-3 senior guard Jamie McNeilly of Toronto, Ontario.
...Before leaving for LSU after the 2003-04 season, Johnson also started the recruitment of incoming UNO freshman guard Jermonte Bush of Rickards High.
"I know UNO
is going through a lot of problems with the hurricane, but I think UNO
is going to be very good next year," Johnson
said."I think UNO
has a chance to win the conference."Johnson is also very close to UNO assistant coach Andy Colville, who is the former head coach at Rickards High.
...Colville played for Johnson at Chipola Junior Collge in Florida, where Johnson was an assistant coach from 1989-91.
"Even after I left, I wanted UNO
to do well," Johnson
said."I put six years of my life there.
asked."Without a doubt."