Coaching candidate visits Duke

A week after Gail Goestenkors left for Texas, Duke could be closing in on its next women's basketball head coach.

California-Berkeley head coach Joanne Boyle, widely thought of as the leading candidate in Duke's search, visited the Durham campus Sunday and Monday to interview for the position, a source familiar with the coaching search confirmed.

Boyle met with President Richard Brodhead, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and members of the current team, the source said. Although there is no specific timetable, interviews with other potential candidates have not yet been scheduled.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, could not confirm whether Boyle had received an offer, saying only the process could move "rapidly" from this point. Boyle was scheduled to fly back to Berkeley Tuesday.

Boyle, who graduated from Duke in 1985 and served as an assistant coach under Goestenkors from 1993-2002, could not be reached for comment. She released a statement Friday in which she did not deny her interest in the Duke job.

"Cal's women's basketball program has achieved great success in the past two years," the statement said. "I am proud and appreciative of our student-athletes, administration and loyal fans; it is an honor to be Cal's head women's basketball coach. And, as a former Duke player and assistant coach, I appreciate the many people who have contributed to that program's history of success. Thus, I am also honored by Duke's interest in me as its next head women's basketball coach."

Boyle, who has led Cal to the NCAA Tournament in each of her two seasons in Berkeley, interviewed for Florida's opening two weeks ago before turning down the Gators' offer. Cal's athletic director released a statement last week saying that the school's athletic department had been "taking steps to ensure that Joanne Boyle has a long-term future as Cal's women's basketball coach."

Boyle interacted with members of the Duke contingent to last week's Final Four in Cleveland, even though Goestenkors had yet to announce she was leaving. And although her ties to Duke trace back to before the team's current crop of players enrolled, the Blue Devils seem to be open to the idea of Boyle as their next coach.

"I don't believe I ever talked to her when she was [a coach] here, but one of my good friends played for her at Cal and only had good things to say about her," Abby Waner said last week.

In replacing Goestenkors, Duke players and administrators have said they hope to uphold the level of success the program has seen in recent years-including four Final Four appearances in the past eight years.

"We want a coach with many of the characteristics [Goestenkors] had," junior Wanisha Smith said last week. "We want her to show a lot of passion for the game. We just want someone whose easy to talk to and just a great person."

Adding to her connection to the area, Boyle's mother, Joan Boyle, lives in Raleigh. Reached at her home, Joan Boyle said she could not confirm her daughter's interview and said she did not know what would happen.

"When she's ready to tell us, we'll know it," Boyle said. "She just doesn't want to talk about it until everything is set in place."

Ben Cohen contributed to this story.


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