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Star-Telegram.com

LSU coach to be announced as TCU basketball coach, source says

Posted Friday, Apr. 06, 2012

By Stefan Stevenson

sstevenson@star-telegram.com

LSU's Trent Johnson will be named TCU's 20th basketball coach Monday, a high-ranking TCU official said Friday.

Johnson's Tigers went 18-15 this season, his fourth at LSU, finished eighth in the Southeastern Conference, and earned an NIT berth. After going 27-8 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, Johnson's LSU teams went 11-20 in consecutive years.

Johnson replaces Jim Christian who was named the coach at Ohio on Tuesday. TCU finished 18-15 and advanced to its first postseason since 2005. The Horned Frogs last reached the NCAA Tournament in 1998.

Despite his .500 record at LSU, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte was likely attracted to Johnson's long résumé, which includes a 226-185 overall record, and very successful stints at Nevada and Stanford, including four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He took both teams to the NCAA's Sweet 16 in his fourth year -- Nevada in 2004 and Stanford in 2008.

Neither Johnson nor Del Conte returned calls Friday. Several factors likely contributed to the delay until Monday. Contract details need to be worked out, including Johnson's budget for assistants and staff, and Easter weekend probably contributed to the delay.

"If you lock on to somebody and they're responsive, sometimes both parties want to do a deal fast," one source close to the coaching search said. "I think he would be a terrific pick."

Hiring Johnson, 55, is likely to dramatically increase what TCU pays its head men's basketball coach. Johnson made around $1.2 million at LSU. Christian was making around $590,000.

Johnson fits the profile of what one high-ranking TCU source said the Frogs were looking for -- a current head coach who has won before who wanted a change of scenery. Johnson's contract runs through 2015, according to reports.

Johnson coached four years at Stanford (2004-08) before going to LSU. The Cardinal finished 28-8 in his last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Johnson's Stanford teams earned NCAA bids three times and an NIT berth once.

Perhaps Johnson's most impressive stint was his five years at Nevada, where he took over an 8-18 team in 1999. After two losing seasons Johnson helped turn the Wolf Pack around. His 2004 team finished 25-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16.

Johnson was an assistant coach at Washington in 1989-92 and then an assistant at Rice (1992-96). He played at Boise State 1974-78 and earned his degree from there in 1983. There appears to be only a thin connection between Del Conte and Johnson. Del Conte was AD at Rice from 2006-09 and earned his master's at Washington State.

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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