The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has narrowed its head football coaching search down to three finalists following former coach Monte Coleman's firing last month after consecutive losing seasons.
Sunday morning, the Commercial's sources released information that there would be four finalists, but on Monday, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. said that the fourth candidate had been dropped from consideration.
Eric Dooley, Scott Maxfield and Cedric Thomas are the three being considered for the job.
Dooley is currently the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Grambling State University.
In 2016, Thomas was promoted from defensive back coach to defensive coordinator at Alcorn State University.
Maxfield has been the head coach at Henderson State University for the past 12 years.
Approximately 67 total applications were submitted, and according to Hardy, the search committee "did a wonderful job of surveying each candidate."
"The search committee has played a major role in it," Hardy said. "The committee has been meeting for the last week-and-a-half. They diligently went through over 60 applications. They then chose eight applicants to hold phone interviews with. From those eight it has been narrowed down to three individuals who will do the on-campus interviews."
The process is moving along just as UAPB's administration expected, and according to Hardy, they're all set to name a head coach by the time campus closes for winter break.
"Right now we're still on track," Hardy said. "The campus officially closes Friday of next week, and our goal is to stay on target for that."
Each finalist will get a first-hand opportunity to make their first impression on the Golden Lions' administration and program supporters.
First, Thomas has a meet and greet scheduled at 11:30 a.m. today. Maxfield's meet and greet will be held at 5:30 p.m. today, and Dooley is currently still in season with the Grambling Tigers; therefore, his meet and greet won't be held until 11:30 a.m. Monday.
All three sessions will be held in the STEM building on the UAPB campus.
Hardy explained the purpose of these meet and greets, and why he feels they're necessary.
"We just want to give the general public an opportunity to meet and greet the three candidates," Hardy said.
"We want them to meet the people of Pine Bluff and the supporters of the program. Each candidate will have an opportunity to briefly address the audience, talk about their vision, and give a glimpse of what their strategy will be to turn our program back to a championship caliber program."
As for the other 60-plus applicants, Hardy was very thankful for their interest in the position, and he spoke to what that meant for the program's potential.
"We were very thankful for the overwhelming interest," Hardy said. "That many individuals around the country had interest in our University. It attests to the potential we have here in the program. We are thankful for their interest and it bodes well for us in the number of quality apps we received."