LSU interim men's basketball coach Tony Benford said Wednesday morning he has not talked to newly named Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams about joining the Aggies staff.
Williams, the former Virginia Tech coach, was announced earlier Wednesday as Texas A&M's new head coach, immediately sparking internet reports that Benford would be leaving the LSU program.
While the reports said it's expected to happen, which it could, Benford told The Advocate he is still LSU's interim coach — a position he was appointed to when Will Wade was suspended by university officials March 8.
Benford, who led LSU to a 3-2 record and into the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 before the Tigers fell to Michigan State on Friday night, is a close friend of Williams and was an assistant on his Marquette staff from 2007-12.
Tony Benford's stint as an LSU basketball assistant coach and interim head coach appears to be over.
Benford said Saturday morning, when talk of him joining Williams at A&M first popped up, that he hadn't spoken to Williams about a potential move.
Ironically, Williams was also in Washington, where his Virginia Tech team was eliminated Friday night by Duke after LSU lost to Michigan State.
"I have not had any communication with Buzz about Texas A&M," said Benford, a former Texas Tech star who's spent most of his 28-year coaching career in the state of Texas.
"We talk throughout the year because of our relationship," he added. "Buzz is a good friend, but we haven't talked about Texas A&M."
Benford said he met Monday and Tuesday with LSU athletic director Joe Alleva and remains focused on getting the current Tigers through a difficult situation and adding new prospects for next season.
The spring recruiting signing period begins April 17.
"First of all, I met with Joe and I'm still the interim coach here until anything changes," Benford said Wednesday. "I have a great job here at LSU, and I'll just continue to try to help the kids navigate through this right now."
With an 80-63 loss to Michigan State during competition in Friday night’s Sweet 16 tournament, LSU’s men’s basketball team ended its season wi…
Benford indicated Alleva and school officials are still trying to speak with Wade about an FBI wiretap on which Wade is heard talking in June 2017 to a federally convicted recruiting middleman about a "strong-ass offer" for a prospect believed to be LSU guard Javonte Smart.
Wade has declined to meet with Alleva, presumably because he's been subpoenaed to testify as a defense witness in the next trial of Christian Dawkins later this month.
"I think they're trying to work through the process and they're trying to visit with coach (Wade)," Benford told The Advocate. "I was asked to be the interim until something, you know, anything changes."
He said his meetings with Alleva were about the status of the current LSU players.
Benford, who has one year left on his contract, said he and fellow assistants Greg Heiar and Bill Armstrong are monitoring the current players to make sure they finish the semester strong and get through the process.
"I think down the road, these guys will be looking at their options and will probably look into seeing what their statius is with the NBA draft," he said.
Will Wade wants to remain the head coach of the LSU basketball program, according to Tigers assistant coach Tasmin Mitchell.
Benford said there is nothing new regarding sophomore guard Tremont Waters and freshman forward Naz Reid, who could apply for the draft. The deadline to apply is April 21.
Recruiting enters a dead period on Thursday, which will last through April 11.
"We're just moving forward, trying to line up recruiting and everything," Benford said. "We'll keep moving forward until they let us know … they need to let us know something soon."