Fraschilla, Rice Leading Candidates at Rutgers; Hofstra Suspends Welsh Without Pay (UPDATED)

Fran Fraschilla and Mike Rice are the two leading candidates to replace Fred Hill at Rutgers, according to a source with knowledge of the decision-making progress.

“Fran and Mike are 100 percent in the mix. They’re in the mix. They [Rutgers] are speaking to them,” the source said.

Former Philadelphia 76ers coach Eddie Jordan withdrew his name from consideration. Temple coach Fran Dunphy and former Boston College coach Al Skinner have also been in the mix, but do not appear to be leading candidates at this time.

“They’ve had communication with Skinner,” the source said. “Whether that’s been a formal interview, I don’t know. Because they’re losing candidates they might be reaching out to more people. Skinner might get an interview now or they might reach out to someone else.”

Fraschilla is a Brooklyn native and former St. John’s and Manhattan coach who now works at ESPN. He also had issues at St. John’s and New Mexico that could be a factor considering what Rutgers just went through with Hill.

Still, he is a brand name, has strong international recruiting ties and Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti could hope that Fraschilla will do for Rutgers what new St. John’s coach Steve Lavin has done there since leaving ESPN.

Lavin has made a splash thusfar and put St. John’s back in the headlines.

Fraschilla would likely want to hear from the university that it will make a serious commitment to the basketball team and to improving the facilities at the RAC. He is also in a position to potentially command more money than Rice.

“For Fran, I don’t think money is going to be that big of an issue,” the source said. “They’re going to compensate him and compensate him well.”

Rice led Robert Morris to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances and has the backing of Hall of Famer Bob Hurley of St. Anthony and Hoop Group president Rob Kennedy because he has strong recruiting ties in the New York/New Jersey/Philly corridor

“North Jersey, Philly and New York City is a hot bed of recruiting,” Rice said during the NCAA tournament. “It was when I was hired away from St. Joe’s to Pitt. They wanted somebody that did North Jersey to Philadelphia. Besides my experience at the Hoop Group, I had my St. Joe’s ties and Philly ties.”

Ye he would be making a big jump from the Northeast Conference to the Big East.

“Rice is going to take it because he wants to move up. It’s a ridiculous jump,” the source said.

Fraschilla and Rice bring two different personalities, styles and backgrounds to the table and, in the end, Pernetti may still look to another candidate.

“I’m assuming they want to get this thing done as soon as possible,” the source said. “At the same time, I’m hoping they do their due diligence and bring in the right person.”

HOFSTRA SUSPENDS WELSH WITHOUT PAY

New Hofstra coach Tim Welsh is not off to a good start. He was suspended without pay after reportedly being charged with DWI in Nassau County and will be arraigned today. Here’s my story.

RECRUITING NEWS

Naofall Folahan, a 6-10 C from Wilbraham and Monson Academy, is visiting Wagner this weekend…Former Fordham commit Danny Lawhorn of South Kent (Conn.) and Jakarri McCalop will spend a postgrad year at the Robinson School in New Jersey.

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**Mike Rosario: ‘I’m a Gator

**Mike Rice would be perfect fit at Rutgers

**Fred Hill resigns at Rutgers

**Biruta waiting on Rutgers

**Hurley advising Seton Hall on search

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