Ex-Lakers Coach Paul Westhead of Loyola Marymount College is the latest addition to a list of basketball coaching candidates under consideration for the opening at the University of Maryland, sources familiar with the search process said.
Though it is not known whether Westhead was on the original list of candidates given to the search committee, sources said he has since received a number of strong recommendations, including one from University of North Carolina Coach Dean Smith.
Westhead, 50, said Tuesday from Los Angeles that he had not been contacted by anyone about the job, but he said he would be interested in talking with Maryland Athletic Director Lew Perkins if he is called.
“I’d be interested to see what was going on,” Westhead said. “Beyond that, I won’t make any decisions (about interviewing) until I see how serious the university was.”
Asked about a possible recommendation from Smith, Westhead said that he had not heard of one but added that the two have been friends since his years at LaSalle during the 1970s. Smith was unavailable for comment.
After leaving LaSalle, where he had been a head coach for nine years, Westhead became a Lakers assistant and took over for ailing Jack McKinney early in the 1979-80 season and coached the team to an NBA championship. Westhead was fired a little more than a year later after a difference in philosophy with Lakers star Magic Johnson.