Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/27/12
Three names have surfaced as potential candidates for the vacant Northern Arizona head coaching position, according to NorthernArizonaNews.com. They are Arizona State assistant coach Scott Pera, Oregon State assistant coach David Grace and Grand Canyon University coach Russ Pennell. The man hired will permanently replace coach Mike Adras, who abandoned his post Dec. 9 amid allegations of conduct detrimental to the team and violating NCAA regulations. He has been replaced by Dave Brown on an interim basis. Brown, who once coached the NAU women's team and was a broadcaster for Lumberjacks games, won three of his first four games as head coach, including an upset of ASU in Tempe on Dec. 17. He has not won in a 15-game span. Pera has been at ASU for five years and recruited NBA player James Harden to the Sun Devils. Grace is in his fourth year at Oregon State, and Pennell took over for an ailing Lute Olson on an interim basis at Arizona during the 2008-09 season, leading the Wildcats to a Sweet 16 appearance before being hired at Grand Canyon. Pennell is in the midst of trying to elevate Grand Canyon to Division I status next year. His devotion to that task might outweigh a desire to turn around NAU's program. Pera coaches under Herb Sendek, who has produced a coaching tree including current Arizona head coach Sean Miller and Ohio State's Thad Matta. Pera has also been in charge of recruiting for ASU since joining the Sun Devils' staff. However, Pera has only been a head coach at the high school level. Grace has coaching background in Arizona, leading Phoenix South Mountain High School to a state championship. He also co-founded the Arizona Magic AAU program. He also has experience coaching in the Big Sky, having spent time as the lead assistant and recruiting coordinator at Sacramento State.
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