Breaking news — UNT assistant leaving staff (updated)

Bart Lundy, an original member of Tony Benford’s staff at North Texas, is leaving the school to take over as the head coach at Queens University, a Division II school in Charlotte, N.C.

Lundy confirmed Monday night that he has accepted the job and would be introduced at the school in the next few days.

Lundy said that he accepted the job largely to be closer to his family. Lundy has four children ages 8 to 16 who live just over an hour away from Charlotte in High Point, N.C..

I cover a lot of what Lundy and Benford had to say in the paper tomorrow. Be sure to pick up the paper or read it on-line. I will try to put a link up on the blog in the morning.

One aspect of the whole story I wanted to touch on was the fact that Lundy had turned down a chance to go after the Clayton State job a few weeks ago.

What’s the difference?

It all goes back to the family issue.

Lundy wants a chance to be closer to his kids while they grow up.

The job is also a good fit. Lundy took Queens to the Division II Elite Eight twice and the Final Four once. The school is also about to open a $30 million facility that will house a big chunk of the school’s athletic department.

There is a chance Queens could move to Division I at some point.

What Lundy wanted to make clear is that he is confident UNT is headed the right direction under Benford, despite the fact the team struggled last year.

I thought this was a telling quote, although I didn’t have a spot to fit it in tomorrow’s paper:

“My boys said the team was the best group of guys they have been around.”

UNT does have a good batch of guys. The fact that Lundy’s kids liked the team so much only reinforces the point.

I asked Benford about what he is looking for in a new assistant and got pretty much the standard response about a guy who can coach and recruit and is a good influence on players. Benford did talk about the importance of area ties, which is an interesting point considering UNT really has worked hard to carve out a niche in Dallas.

Even with UNT’s new spot in Conference USA, it’s a whole lot easier to recruit guys from up the road than across the country when you are talking about luring them to a mid-major program.

The core of UNT’s team over the past few years — Tony Mitchell, Jordan Williams, Chris Jones, Alzee Williams, Roger Franklin to name a few were all Dallas-area high school products.

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