Four candidates remain in the hunt to become the next University of West Florida men's basketball coach.
In just two weeks, the search committee considered 145 candidates and pared down the huge list to a distinctly veteran group.
And it made its desires known: plenty of head coaching experience, plenty of winning.
The final four emerged after phone interviews Tuesday:
- Jim Boone, head coach, Tusculum College (Tenn.).
- Happy Osborne, head coach, Georgetown College (Ky.).
- Bob Stinnett, former head coach, Pensacola High/Pensacola Junior College/Washington High.
- Greg Zimmerman, head coach, Alderson-Broaddus College (W.Va.).
UWF athletic director Dave Scott praised the committee for its diligence and selection of worthy candidates.
"You're looking at Jim Boone, who's approaching 400 wins. You're looking at Happy Osborne, who has been (at Georgetown College) for 29 years and 13 as a head coach," Scott said. "Then you have Bob Stinnett, who has a long history and career in the Pensacola area."
"And then you take a guy like Greg Zimmerman from a small school in West Virginia, and he has a 78 percent winning percentage.
"So this is a group of accomplished guys, and their experience showed through in their interviews."
The four coaches will individually visit UWF for 1½-day interviews July 9-16. Scott hopes to have the new head coach in place by Aug. 1.
Stinnett, a longtime area coaching staple with head coaching stops at Pensacola High (2007-09), Pensacola Junior College (1985-87) and Washington High (1969-70), is the only local candidate.
Stinnett played basketball at UWF in 1967-68 and was the school's first men's basketball team captain. He also is a member of the UWF Athletic Hall of Fame.
"I'm totally elated to be a finalist," Stinnett said. "This has been my dream job and something I've always wanted. Out of 145 people, there were a lot of great people. Then, when it was down to 10, they were all good coaches. I know they were all good."
Osborne has spent the last 29 years at Georgetown College, a powerhouse NAIA program in the basketball-rich state of Kentucky. He has a long track record of success since taking over as head coach 14 years ago.
Zimmerman has turned tiny Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia into an NCAA Division II national power. He has taken the school to eight straight D-II national tournaments, and his .783 winning percentage is the highest in all of Division II.
Boone has 381 career wins, which ranks 31st all-time in Division II. He has had head coaching stops at Division I schools Eastern Michigan and Robert Morris, and last season, he helped Tusculum College to its first 20-win season in 16 years.
Originally narrowed to 10 candidates entering this week, the committee decided Monday to add two more to the group after further deliberations — Tom Schuberth, the former head coach at University of Texas-Pan American, and Barry Sanderson, former assistant at South Carolina and son of legendary coach Wimp Sanderson. Neither made it to the final four.