Cedar City • Southern Utah's search for a basketball coach has focused on Barret Peery, a former Thunderbird player and assistant who spent last season at Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College.
SUU athletic director Ken Beazer interviewed Pacific assistant Ron Verlin and LSU assistant Nick Robinson late last week, but Peery has emerged as the front-runner after interviewing on Monday.
Others whose names have been linked to the job, including Utah State assistant Chris Jones, Utah director of basketball operations Norm Parrish and Dixie State's Jon Judkins, are not candidates.
In a recent email to The Tribune, Beazer declined to name individual candidates. At the time, however, he hoped to have new coach in place by "the first part of April."
Beazer noted there has been a "great deal of interest in the job," which opened when the school did not extend Roger Reid's contract. In his fifth season, Southern Utah finished 14-17, including 8-10 in the far-flung Summit League.
The Thunderbirds move to the Big Sky Conference in July, which makes the SUU job more attractive to potential head coaches because of the league's geography, stability and history.
At this point, Peery looks like Southern Utah's primary target, unless coaching changes at other schools like Colorado State muddle the current situation.
Peery, 41, is a native of Payson who attended Snow College and Southern Utah.
This season, he guided Indian Hills to a 33-4 record and a seventh-place finish at the national junior college tournament. He spent the previous three years with Jim Boylen at the University of Utah.
Before joining Boylen's staff, Peery coached at Southern Idaho for five seasons, including three as head coach. He has also been as assistant at Snow, Utah Valley, Portland State and Southern Utah.
As a player, Peery helped SUU win two conference championships. He was a co-captain as a senior.