- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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ESPN analyst and former college head coach Fran Fraschilla has emerged as a strong candidate for the vacant head coaching job at North Texas, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
Fraschilla and Marquette associate coach Tony Benford interviewed last week to replace Johnny Jones, who left to be the head coach at LSU.
Fraschilla, who has been involved in other jobs since he left coaching, including the College of Charleston this spring, would accept the North Texas job if offered, according to a source.
Fraschilla has been at ESPN since 2003, covering a variety of conferences from the Big 12 to the Big East as well as covering the NBA draft from an international angle. Fraschilla has also been an instructor and coach at a number of summer youth basketball camps.
Multiple sources said Jones has endorsed Fraschilla for the job.
Fraschilla coached Division I basketball for 23 years, going 175-100 and coaching in the NCAA tournament in 1993 and '95 at Manhattan and '98 with St. John's. Fraschilla last coached at New Mexico.
Fraschilla lives in Dallas and wouldn't have to move if he was offered the job. His youngest son, Matthew, will have one more year of high school. His older son, James, is a freshman walk-on at Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Benford was a finalist at SMU, which ultimately hired Larry Brown. Benford was called last week by SMU athletic director Steve Orsini, according to a source, to see if he were interested in being Brown's coach-in-waiting. Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich was the original choice, but continues to be the head coach of the Redbirds with no indication yet that he had received a guaranteed deal and upwards of more than $500,000 to leave Normal, Ill.
North Texas is on the verge of possibly moving to Conference USA, according to multiple sources. UNT would fit in C-USA with the number of departures heading to the Big East in 2013.
North Texas finished 9-7 in the Sun Belt West Division last season, 18-14 overall. The Mean Green are expected to be one of the top teams in the Sun Belt next season but a lot of that will have to do if Tony Mitchell returns.
Mitchell could still declare for the NBA draft by Sunday's deadline. Sources said Mitchell is waiting to see who gets the head coaching job before making a decision. Mitchell averaged 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds a game last season.