James Madison Coach Lou Campanelli was interviewed for the University of California at Berkeley basketball coaching position yesterday, but the Naval Academy's Paul Evans is still a leading candidate for the job, it was learned.
Campanelli flew to Oakland Monday night and met with Cal Athletic Director Dave Maggard yesterday after touring the campus. James Madison Athletic Director Dean Ehler confirmed that he knew of Campanelli's trip.
"We talked about it," he said. "He has my permission."
Campanelli's interview follows a weekend visit to Berkeley by Evans, who coached the Midshipmen to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 25 years. Navy upset Louisiana State University in the first round before losing to Maryland.
Evans negotiated a three-year contract with the service academy last month, and has said it would take the perfect job to make him leave Annapolis. He said yesterday that he was impressed with Cal, but that he wouldn't decide whether to pursue the matter until later in the week.
"The area was real nice," he said. "I was particularly impressed with the campus. But I really haven't done anything yet. I've just been calling a few people. I will probably decide something by the end of the week."
Cal's program would need a major overhaul. The Golden Bears were 12-15 this season, but they do offer one very attractive drawing point: the opportunity to coach in the Pacific-10. Evans has said his goal is to coach in a major conference.
"The program is not in very good shape right now," Evans said. "But I think they're ready to make a move to get it back on track."
Sources in the Berkeley area say Evans is currently the leading candidate, and that the real question is not whether Cal would hire him, but whether Evans would leave Annapolis.