East Tennessee State University is looking for a new head basketball coach, and Kentucky assistant Joel Justus is reportedly a finalist.
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, ETSU is focused on Justus, along with interim coach Jason Shay and New Mexico State coach Chris Jans, to lead its basketball program.
ETSU’s head coaching search is focused on Interim coach Jason Shay, New Mexico State coach Chris Jans and Kentucky assistant Joel Justus, sources tell @247Sports.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) May 6, 2020
This afternoon, though, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports broke the news that Jans is no longer seen as a viable candidate for the head coaching vacancy at East Tennessee State.
Sources: Chris Jans is staying at New Mexico State and is no longer a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at East Tennessee State.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 6, 2020
Now, it appears just Shay and Justus remain in contention for the job, with the former being seen as the heavy favorite to take over.
Shay, who currently serves as the interim coach following Steve Forbes’ departure, was an assistant under the new Wake Forest head coach for all five of his seasons in Johnson City. With strong ties to the program and the state of Tennessee, Shay has long been seen as the likely permanent replacement, with HoopsDirt.com actually setting the odds at 4/1 for Shay to take over.
Nonetheless, two options remain, and the valuable Kentucky assistant is one of them.
Justus was also a candidate at his alma mater, UNC-Wilmington, earlier this offseason, though they ultimately hired NC State assistant Takayo Siddle back in March.
Will the Kentucky basketball program be able to hang on to one of its ace recruiters?