Michigan State assistant coach Dane Fife sounds like a man who is interested in the Ball State basketball coaching vacancy. But he did not confirm or deny that he is a candidate for the job after the Spartans open practice at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday.
"My main focus right now is to not talk about any of those things," said Fife, "and to focus on what we have going here. We want to keep the focus with Michigan State."
Michigan State plays Duke Friday night at about 9:45 p.m. in Indianapolis in the Midwest Regional.
Fife, 33 years old, admitted that he wants to be a college head coach again soon. He led the IPFW program for six seasons, compiling an 82-97 record. Each season under Fife, the Mastodons either tied or broke the school record for NCAA Division I victories. He left after an 18-12 campaign in the 2010-11 season to join Izzo's staff at Michigan State.
"One of my reasons for bugging coach Izzo to give me a chance at Michigan State was to learn from a great head coach," said Fife, a former IU player.
The Ball State job is vacant after the school dismissed Billy Taylor after six seasons.
"Ball State's a great job," said Fife. "It's in the hotbed of basketball country."
Fife helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to the Final Four in 2002 as a senior. He later served as an administrative assistant for two seasons in the IU basketball program for Coach Mike Davis.
Fife and his wife, Blair, have two daughters, Quinnly and Reagan.
The Muncie Star Press has reported that South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy and Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport have interviewed for the Ball State job.
Ball State did not immediately return an email seeking comment Thursday evening.