Jay Hillock will succeed Paul Westhead as Loyola Marymount's basketball coach, according to sources close to the team. Hillock has been Westhead's top assistant for five years.
A news conference at which an announcement will be made has been scheduled for noon today, the sources said.
"Some players were upset upon hearing Friday that Coach Westhead was leaving, but they are calm now," Hillock said Sunday night. Hillock said Westhead would meet with the players today.
In a program that rarely had stability before Westhead's five seasons, Loyola is trying to maintain its newfound credibility and make a smooth transition in replacing Westhead, whose high-scoring offense led to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament and a trip to the final eight last March, the school's best showing ever.
Hillock, 41, a Santa Barbara native, was head coach for four years at Gonzaga before resigning to return to Southern California. He remains very familiar with the West Coast Conference and helps coordinate Loyola recruiting. The preseason signing period is only two months away.
Hillock was 60-50 at Gonzaga, where he had a reputation for getting results out of moderately talented players. Under Hillock, a little-recruited guard, John Stockton, went on to develop into the conference player of the year and an NBA star.
Hillock was not known as a running coach at Gonzaga, but has said he has come to appreciate Westhead's push-it-up offense and will stay with it.
And it was Hillock who suggested three years ago that Westhead introduce the gamelong full-court press to keep opponents from stalling. It was a move that made the Lions' attack even more frantic, as Loyola constantly wore down opponents and averaged more than 110 points each of the last three seasons.