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Celtics’ Frank Consulting In UT’s Search

Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank has indeed been contacted by the University of Tennessee.  But, “don’t expect him to be singing ‘Rocky Top’ anytime soon.”

Celtics beatwriter A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sports New England says a league source has confirmed that Frank was contacted… but it was to discuss potential candidates the school should target.

Boston GM Danny Ainge said that UT has yet to ask permission of the Celtics to speak with Frank about actually coaching Tennessee.

“He’s a good coach, but Lawrence is committed 100% to our quest to win a championship this year,” Ainge said.  “He’s a quality coach who should be a candidate for a number of coaching opportunities in the future.”

Ainge is the uncle of former Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge.

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NBA Writers Discuss Frank-To-Tennessee Rumors

A pair of NBA writers have taken to Twitter to discuss the possibility of Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank taking the head coaching job at Tennessee. 

First, here’s what Chris Mannix of has tweeted on the topic:

Hard to imagine L-Frank bailing on Boston to take UT job.  A source confirmed his interest but Boston’s season likely won’t end until June.

Frank has been a critical part of Doc Rivers coaching staff.  Has assumed Thibodeau’s d-coordinator role and is vocal in practices.

As @WojYahooNBA says, there are no guarantees Frank will be heir apparent to Doc.  Not a discussion they have had.

Danny Ainge respects Frank, has for a long time.  But rival execs believe he prefers a head coach with playing experience.

RT @WojYahooNBA L-Frank doesn’t NEED to take a college job.  He’ll be an NBA head coach again.

For those of you who don’t speak Twitter, @WojYahooNBA is Adrian Wojnarowski who covers the league for Yahoo! Sports.  His tweets on Frank-to-Tennessee are as follows:

As @AlexKennedyNBA reports, Lawrence Frank candidate for Tennessee.  He’s turned back Big East overtures in past year, but UT’s different.

Frank has history in Knoxville as an assistant, and league sources say it’s perhaps only college job that would intrigue him to leave NBA.

With NCAA sanctions likely, UT would likely have to offer long contract and allow Frank to finish Celtics season.  No way he bails on Boston.

LFrank would be an interesting hire for UT.  Excellent tactician/player development, recruiting history/relationships in state’s hotbeds.

As for coach-in-waiting with Celtics should Doc leave, no one knows what Danny Ainge will do.  Frank would be a candidate, but no assurances.

As @ChrisMannixSI says, it isn’t easy to see an SEC school waiting til June to get its new coach full-time — especially one needing players.

There’s no question Frank has become a favorite candidate among Vol fans stunned by the firing of Bruce Pearl.  But would the Frank hire be as good as it would be loud?

Pearl was a college guy with a rah-rah personality.  He enjoyed being a showman.  He was custom made for relating to college athletes and high school recruits.  He was also expected to be a Tennessee lifer.

Frank is used to running a professional team.  His players have been millionaire businessmen.  There’s a big difference between relating to pro athletes and high school prospects.  Plus, Frank would have to recruit against constant rumors that he planned to head back to the NBA.

We write the words, “Never say never,” on this site quite a bit.  Those words should be applied to this situation, too.  But this one looks like more of a smokescreen by Tennessee — or a contract ploy by Frank — than an actual, legitimate courtship.

We shall see.

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Is NBA’er Frank Really A Candidate At Tennessee?

As Bruce Pearl twisted in the wind over the weekend, Jeff Goodman of tossed out longtime NBA coach Lawrence Frank as a surprising dark horse candidate to replace him.  While, yes, it does sound a bit like the “Jon Gruden’s coming!” rumors that swirl on college campuses each January, there seems to be a bit more fire to go along with the smoke in this Frank-to-Tennessee chatter.

Multiple league sources have confirmed that Boston Celtics lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank is among the early frontrunners to become the next head coach at the University of Tennessee.

That from Comcast Sports New England’s Celtics beatwriter A. Sherrod Blakely.  If Frank were a Clippers coach, we’d have no take on this.  But as this MrSEC writer is also a Celtics fan — who watches Blakely report on the team each night via satellite — I’m swayed a bit by the man doing the reporting.  He’s solid.

And Blakely goes on to state the following regarding Frank, who served for three years as a UT assistant in the ’90s under Kevin O’Neill:

His interest in the Tennessee job speaks not only about his desire to once again become a head coach — regardless of the level of play — but also about the likelihood of Doc Rivers returning next season as the Celtics’ head coach.

If Frank had any indication that Rivers was indeed planning to step down after this season as the Celtics head coach, he understands that he would be one of the first to get serious consideration for the job.

It’s also suggested that Frank — who was head coach of the New Jersey Nets just two seasons ago — would ask for a long-term contract from UT that would include “some type of out-clause that would allow him to return to the NBA.”

It certainly seems doubtful that a man who has spent 14 years in the NBA and has never been a head coach in college would choose — out of the blue — to dive into the world of recruiting and discipline and parents and boosters.  Especially at a place that’s about to spanked by the NCAA.  Possible, yes.  Likely, no.

And what if Blakely — who we respect — is reading the tea leaves wrong on this occasion?  Hey, as a Celtics supporter, I saw Rivers’ reaction when Kendrick Perkins was recently traded away.  He did not seem like a man who was happy with his decision to return to the C’s for one more title run with his team of long-in-tooth vets.  One of his favorite vets had been shipped out of town.

So what if Frank’s interest in Tennessee shows that he thinks Rivers is definitely gone rather than definitely staying?  Might he be using UT’s interest as leverage to land some sort of coach-in-waiting title from GM Danny Ainge?  You can be sure Boston doesn’t want a distraction — like a coach flirting or actually leaving — during a championship push.

That scenario seems just as likely as Frank actually landing back in Knoxville.

As for Tennessee, it’s good that the school appears to be targeting a “name,” outside-the-box hire.  Many fans are still upset over the Pearl firing and it’s doubtful they’d be standing at the box office clamoring for tickets if the Volunteers hired some mid-major coach with a very short resume to replace him.

We look forward to following this one over the next few days.  If nothing else, this unusual story beats covering the Arkansas-Missouri tug-of-war for Mike Anderson. 

A young pro coach with no college head coaching experience coming to Tennessee.  How could that not work?

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