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Published: Friday, 5/4/2001

Joplin reportedly interviewing four to find No. 2 assistant


University of Toledo men's basketball coach Stan Joplin will interview four candidates for the position of No. 2 assistant on his staff, sources close to the program said yesterday.

All four have past or present ties to the state of Michigan.

Joplin interviewed Schoolcraft (Mich.) College head coach Carlos Briggs yesterday, and former Michigan assistant Kurtis Townsend Wednesday.

Joplin is expected to interview former UT point guard and current Texas A&M-Corpus Christi assistant Bobby Taylor early next week, as well as Detroit Mercy assistant Michael Jackson.

Joplin did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

But Joplin recently said he was looking to hire a No. 2 assistant with Division I-A recruiting experience who is “a younger version of Tony Jones.''

Jones, Joplin's top assistant and chief recruiter the past five seasons, left the UT coaching staff April 16 to accept a similar position at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Joplin promoted No. 2 assistant Bob Simon to the role of associate head coach, replacing Jones. Tim Saliers remains the No. 3 assistant, but he has had a rocky relationship with Joplin and is not being considered for the No 2 post.

Briggs recently completed his fourth season at Schoolcraft, a highly-successful junior college based in Livonia, Mich.

Briggs, a Schoolcraft product who finished his playing career at Baylor in the mid-1980s, was drafted by the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, but did not make the team. He played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association, the World Basketball League and in Manila before turning to coaching.

Townsend lost his job as a UM assistant after three seasons when head coach Brian Ellerbe was fired in mid-March. Townsend also has been an assistant at California, where he coached NBA All-Star Jason Kidd, and at Eastern Kentucky.

Townsend, a point guard who played college basketball at Menlo (Calif.) Junior College and for Gene Keady at Western Kentucky, also played one season in the CBA.

Taylor completed his first season as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at Division I-A Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Prior to that, he worked two years as an assistant at Grand Valley State. He also has coached at Cowley County (Kan.) College and at Paris (Texas) Junior College.

Taylor, a native of Flint, Mich., was an All-Mid-American Conference honorable mention pick as a senior at Toledo in 1990, when he averaged 12.6 points and 2.4 rebounds.

Jackson wrapped up his third year as Detroit Mercy's restricted earnings coach. The Titans finished 25-12 and reached the Final Four of the NIT.

Jackson is a UDM graduate and was a four-year letterman on the basketball team. He ranks 19th on the Titans' all-time scoring list with 1,125 points, and fifth in assists with 422.

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