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Pat Kelsey and Jerod Haase – two young, 30-something assistant coaches out of the Atlantic-10 and ACC – are among the finalists in Towson University’s coaching search.

Kelsey, 35, just finished his second year as associate head coach at Xavier in the A-10, and before that he spent eight years at Wake Forest under Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio.

Haase, 37, is an assistant coach at North Carolina – and former 2-guard at Kansas – who has worked for Roy Williams the past 11 years.

A four-member Towson entourage that includes athletic director Mike Waddell and outgoing president Robert Caret expect to conclude interviews at the Final Four in Houston and return next week for an announcement of its decision.

Kelsey, a graduate and former team captain at Xavier, returned to his alma mater with head coach Chris Mack in 2009. He played a key role in nationally-ranked recruiting classes at both Xavier and Wake, and is thought to be a candidate for the vacancy at Kent State.

Haase spent the last seven years at Carolina – and four before that at Kansas – with Williams. As a player, he started with Jacque Vaughn, Scot Pollard, Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz and was known for his toughness. He played his senior year with a broken wrist and still averaged 12 points a game. Co-author of the book, Floor Burns, Haase was the guy responsible for Kansas keeping floor burn stats in 1996-97, when he officially collected 165.

Their recruiting experience in Carolina would open an area previously off-limits to Towson. While Kelsey recruited City’s 6-8 Jordan Latham to Xavier, either coach would probably need an assistant more familiar with Baltimore.

And a coach who might make a lot of sense is Chris Harney, head coach at Division III St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Harney has won 116 games in six years (on a .686 winning percentage) in Southern Maryland, going to the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite 8 once in the last four seasons. He had eight players from the Baltimore area on his roster this year, including Alex Franz of Cardinal Gibbons, James Davenport of Loyola, Devin Spencer of Towson Catholic and Kyle Wise of Calvert Hall.

The 25-8 team that reached the Elite 8 this year also posted the team’s highest grade-point-average in the last 20 years, a point of pride for Harney.

“One thing I’ve learned,” he said, “is that it’s very hard to get the trust of kids in Baltimore. They’re very defensive and protective. But once you get it, you’ve got it for life. Once you get approved through the coaches and establish yourself, you can recruit those kids.”

Harney, who coached Bel Air to a 21-win season before moving on to St. Mary’s, has had the Seahawks in the top 20 national rankings each of the last four seasons. They finished ninth this season, their highest ranking yet.

Despite the stellar job he’s done, Harney hasn’t gotten much traction with other jobs. He was mentioned at Mount St. Mary’s a year ago, but never interviewed. And he’s been listed on message boards as a candidate with Towson this year, but again, no interview.

“It’s a real good job for a young guy who comes in and hustles,” Harney said of the Towson vacancy. “You have to come in and get players. Players make the coach.”

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