Toledo coach Tricia Cullop led the Rockets to a WNIT championship, but now she is catching the eye of major program.s
For mid-major programs like Toledo, increased success breeds increased attention, which often leads to bigger schools eyeing your prized coaches.
Following the Rockets' victory over Southern California in the Women's National Invitation Tournament championship game last Saturday, UT coach Tricia Cullop has drawn interest from Wisconsin to fill the head coaching vacancy in its women's basketball program, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.
The Green Bay Press Gazette and Wisconsin State Journal first reported Monday night that Cullop was a candidate for the Wisconsin job.
Cullop yesterday denied having any contact with Wisconsin officials or any other schools. She returned home Tuesday from Indianapolis, where she spent the last two days attending NCAA meetings and events surrounding the Women's Final Four.
"I caught up with some of my old teammates and my college coach and some different people, but it was all in a social setting," Cullop said. "I wasn't going down there seeking a job."
Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Matt Bollant reportedly is the front-runner to succeed Lisa Stone on the Badgers' bench, but Wisconsin officials still plan to reach out to Cullop in the coming days, according to multiple people with knowledge of the school's coaching search. The Badgers also have reportedly met with, or plan to meet with, Stanford assistant Kate Paye and Penn State assistant Kia Damon.
"I'm not going to respond or react to speculation, because that's purely what it is," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien told The Blade yesterday. "Obviously Tricia is aware of her importance to UT and how badly we want her to stay."
Stone, who was dismissed earlier this month after eight years at Wisconsin, reportedly earned a base salary of $281,146 this past season.
Cullop is in the third year of a contract that runs through the 2017-18 season and pays her an annual base salary of $180,000, plus an additional $20,000 for marketing compensation.
A Purdue graduate, Cullop is believed to have the desire to one day coach at her alma mater but could be lured by another school from the Big Ten.
"I think the easiest thing to tell you is I'm thrilled with the way the season went, and right now I'm letting that all sink in," Cullop said. "We were going at such a high pace for so long that now I think it's kind of hit me now how exhausted I am. I really haven't done any thinking at all about anything else. I'm happy here, and that's really where my thought process is."
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6084.