Former Georgetown men’s basketball Head Coach Craig Esherick was in the news last week when he applied for the vacant head coaching position at New Mexico State University.

The job opened when Head Coach Lou Henson resigned on Jan. 22 because of complications resulting from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Aggies, who are in the midst of a 5-21 season with a 1-12 record in the Sun Belt Conference, have been led by interim Head Coach Tony Stubblefield since Henson’s resignation.

Esherick confirmed to The Albuquerque Tribune that he was interested in the position, but he is just one of a number of candidates.

He joins another former coach from a big basketball school who was ousted last year. Earlier this week, The Tribune reported that Henry Bibby, the former head coach at the University of Southern California, had applied for the job. Bibby was fired from USC in December 2004 after eight seasons and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Former Washington State Head Coach Paul Graham and Arizona State Assistant Coach Tony Benford, both of whom were assistants at the University of New Mexico, are also said to be interested in the job.

New Mexico State is not expected to choose a candidate until early April, during the Final Four.

Should Esherick be hired, he would be faced with the task of replacing one of the game’s all-time winningest coaches in Henson. Henson won 779 games during his 41-year career that included two stints at NMSU and 21 years at Illinois. He was second in victories among all active head coaches when he stepped down.

Esherick was 103-79 during his up-and-down five and a half year tenure with the Hoyas before his unexpected firing last March following a 13-15 season. Despite his winning overall record, he was only 46-59 in Big East games, including the conference tournament.

The candidacy of Esherick comes as a bit of a surprise considering that he spent his entire career at Georgetown as a student, assistant coach and head coach and has no ties to the Aggie program.

“Some of the e-mails I got, there was this `Why the hell does he want to come out here?'” Albuquerque Tribune reporter Jeff Carlton, who originally reported Esherick’s interest in the job last week, said. “There was some excitement about a Big East coach. But on the other hand, I got e-mails that said, `It better not be Esherick, he ran Georgetown into the ground.’ Which, if you look at his record, probably isn’t exactly true. People are impressed with notoriety of the names that have come up.”

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