Kevin O’Neill, who guided Marquette to a spot in the NCAA tournament the last two years, was hired Monday to coach a Tennessee basketball team coming off its worst season in 32 years. O’Neill replaces the ousted Wade Houston, whose team went 5-22 this season and 65-90 in five seasons. Marquette lost to Duke in the Southeastern Regional on Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn.
Candidates for the Marquette job include Bo Ellis, a Marquette assistant who played on the Warriors’ 1977 NCAA championship team, Washington State Coach Kelvin Sampson and Duke assistant Tommy Amaker.
Ralph Willard of Western Kentucky is expected to become the coach at Pittsburgh today, turning down an offer from Providence. Willard will replace Paul Evans, who was fired during a season-ending nine-game losing streak despite coaching the Panthers to five NCAA tournaments in eight seasons. He was the leading candidate to replace Rick Barnes at Providence. . . . Yinka Dare, the 7-foot-1 center who led George Washington to the NCAA basketball tournament the past two years, is leaving to pursue an NBA career. . . . Glenn Robinson won the Eastman Award as player of the year.