A nearly annual spring tradition for the FGCU men’s basketball team could be coming to an end: the endless courtship of Eagles coach Joe Dooley.
After weeks of speculation that Dooley was again in the rumor mill for jobs elsewhere, it appears that he is on his way back to East Carolina.
Greenville, N.C. area radio station 94.3 The Game first reported in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that Dooley had been picked for the job, and it has since been reported by multiple other outlets.
“#ECU has agreed to terms with Joe Dooley to become its next head basketball coach, a source has confirmed to @943TheGame,” the tweet said.
On Monday evening, Greenville area media reported that the ECU Board of Trustees had scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday at 5 p.m. That meeting is believed to be to approve the contract.
Athletic director Ken Kavanagh had no comment on Tuesday when asked about the rumors.
The ECU job could mark a significant pay raise for Dooley, who made $350,000 this season at FGCU. Jeff Lebo, who coached the Pirates for eight years before stepping down six games into the season this year, reportedly earned a base salary of $500,000. Dooley previously coached at ECU for four seasons, from 1995-99, where he had a 57-52 record, and still has family in the area.
In five seasons at FGCU, Dooley went 114-57, including two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017. This season, the Eagles overcome a rocky non-conference slate to live up to their heavily favored billing as Atlantic Sun favorites and win the conference. But a loss to Lipscomb in the ASUN tournament finals relegated FGCU to the NIT, where they lost to Oklahoma State in the first round.
Tuesday continues what has started off as a tumultuous offseason for the FGCU program. Four different players have hinted at or made overtures toward leaving the program in the last two weeks. RaySean Scott said he was transferring but has apparently backed off of that and is still on the team, meanwhile Zach Johnson, Maruqette transfer Haanif Cheatham, and Michael Gilmore have all said they plan to file for the NBA Draft. None have hired an agent, leaving them eligible to return.
Johnson has also been rumored as a potential graduate transfer if the redshirt junior can graduate this summer.
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