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Western Illinois coaching search includes Coomes

(4/12/03)

Flames associate head coach Mark Coomes has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant Western Illinois head coaching position.

Coomes (pictured) is among several candidates for the position after 11-year coach Jim Kerwin stepped down last month. Former UAB coach Murry Bartow is high on the Leathernecks’ list.

Coomes has connections with the Western Illinois program as he graduated from the Macomb, Ill. school in 1974.

Coomes and UIC coach Jimmy Collins have known each other for many years, dating back their days as young assistants at the University of Illinois under Coomes’ uncle and current New Mexico State coach Lou Henson.

Coomes was the second assistant hired under Collins at UIC in the spring of 1996 after Collins brought Dick Nagy along with him from Illinois. Coomes, whose priority is coaching the offense, brought along his son, point guard Anthony Coomes, with him to the Flames after a two-year tenure at Wabash Valley Community College in Mt. Carmel, Ill.

Coomes was the acting head coach for three UIC games when Collins was ill. The team was 0-3 in those games (in 1997 at Wisconsin-Green Bay, 2002 at Detroit and 2003 vs. Detroit).

Coomes was also up for the Southern Illinois job in 1998 before the Salukis hired Bruce Weber and was rumored to have interest from Northern Illinois (another place where he was an assistant) a couple of years ago before the Huskies hired Rob Judson.

RECRUITING UPDATE: Add 6-foot-6-inch Simeon forward DaShawn Walker to the list of recruits interested in UIC. He averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game for the 17-7 Wolverines.

Walker was Chicago Tribune special mention and on the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team. He led his team to the prestigious Pontiac Christmas Tournament championship.

Simeon has sent players to Jimmy Collins in the past, including Bryant Notree.

The national signing period begins next week.

In other recent news:
News, notes and observations from around the Horizon League (4/09/03)
ALUMNI UPDATE: Ford and Miller find success overseas (4/03/03)
Butler does Horizon League proud (plus recruiting update) (3/28/03)
Flames' recruiting update (3/26/03)
FORMER FLAME UPDATE: Hallberg, Brown, Solverson (3/21/03)
Comeback effort falls short, season over for UIC (3/19/03)
Off to Kalamazoo: Flames brace for Western Michigan (3/18/03)
Flames invited to "Little Dance" for first time (3/17/03)
UWM whips Butler, gains automatic NCAA bid; Flames await call from NIT (3/11/03)
Flames fizzle down the stretch, repeat NCAA bid likely squashed (3/09/03)
Flames slaughter Penguins, UWM up next (3/07/03)
YSU-UIC set to clash in Horizon tourney (3/06/03)
Youngstown State snaps road streak, UIC up next (3/04/03)
Trio of Flames honored by Horizon League (3/03/03)
Flames get 20th victory (3/02/03)
Carr drives stake through Loyola's heart (2/28/03)