Providence announced yesterday it has hired Fairfield basketball coach Ed Cooley to replace the fired Keno Davis.
Cooley, who led the Stags to a school-record 25 wins and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season championship this year, coached his final game at Fairfield Sunday, a 72-68 loss to Kent State in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
“We are very excited to have Ed Cooley coming to Providence College,’’ Father Brian Shanley, Providence’s president, said. “I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Ed, and I believe he is the right person to lead our team. We conducted a thorough search, and during that process, Ed was the coach that consistently met our selection criteria.’’
Cooley, 41, was named the coach of the year in the MAAC this season, and the Stags (25-8) were on their way to the NCAA Tournament automatic bid when they were upset by St. Peter’s in the league tourney semifinals.
A Providence native, Cooley left an assistant job at Boston College to take the Fairfield position in April of 2006. He struggled in Year 1, going just 13-19. But his final three seasons were all above .500, and he finished with a 92-69 record.
Davis was fired two weeks ago, after just three seasons on the job. Providence went 15-17 this season, and just 4-14 in the Big East. His Friars, who finished 14th in the league, were beaten soundly by Marquette in the first round of the conference tournament, 87-66.
Providence hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004, and hasn’t won the conference tournament since 1994.
More time for Irving Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said point guard Kyrie Irving will play “significant minutes’’ in an NCAA Tournament West Regional semifinal against Arizona.
Speaking in Durham, N.C., before he and his team boarded a bus to the airport, Krzyzewski said Irving would not start tomorrow night in Anaheim, Calif., but is ahead of schedule in his return from a toe injury that cost him most of his freshman season.
Irving missed 3 1/2 months with an injured right big toe but came off the bench in both of the top-seeded Blue Devils’ tournament games. He scored 14 points in 20 minutes in his return against Hampton. He had 11 points in 21 minutes against Michigan.
If all goes well for Duke (32-4) this weekend, Krzyzewski will make history in a couple of ways.
Wins against Arizona and against the Connecticut-San Diego State winner Saturday would move Krzyzewski into a tie atop the all-time list for Division 1 men’s coaches at 902 with Bob Knight, his mentor and coach at Army in the late 1960s.
It also would clinch his 12th career trip to the Final Four — matching the mark held by John Wooden.
“There will be a lot of guys who will win 900 games eventually,’’ Krzyzewski said. “But to [possibly] be the first two, and it be the coach and his player to do it, is something very unique, and that’s the type of relationship and friendship I’ve had with Coach Knight. I’m glad I can share a moment, that moment with him.’’
Wolff in at Va. Tech As expected, former Boston University men’s coach Dennis Wolff was named women’s coach at Virginia Tech. Wolff, who never has led a women’s program in a three-decade coaching career, succeeds Beth Dunkenberger. Wolff, 56, led BU to a 247-197 record over 15 seasons but was fired in 2009. He spent the past season as director of basketball operations for the men’s team at Virginia Tech . . . Missouri coach Mike Anderson’s agent says he is negotiating a new contract with the school amid continued reports that Arkansas is also interested in hiring the architect of the “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.’’ Anderson’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, said he expects a resolution in the next few days.