By A. Sherrod Blakely
WALTHAM While there have been talks between University of Tennessee officials and the representatives of Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, don't expect him to be singing 'Rocky Top' anytime soon.
A league source confirmed on Wednesday that the school has spoken with Frank, but the nature of the conversation was primarily to discuss potential candidates the school should target.
It's not unusual for schools to ask the advice of a former player or, in Frank's case, a former coach, before proceeding with a head coaching search.
That said, discussing possible coaching candidates doesn't necessarily mean the Vols won't at some point in their search come back to try and lure Frank to Knoxville as a replacement for the recently-fired Bruce Pearl.
Frank, who spent three seasons as an assistant coach with Tennessee, was among the first names mentioned as a possible successor.
Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com that Tennessee has yet to ask for permission to speak with Frank about becoming the Vols' next head coach.
However, Ainge said he's not surprised to hear Frank's name come up as a potential head coaching candidate.
"He's a good coach, but Lawrence is committed 100 percent to our quest to win a championship this year," Ainge told CSNNE.com. "He's a quality coach who should be a candidate for a number of coaching opportunities in the future."
Sixers president Rod Thorn, a former GM with the Nets when Frank was there, also praised Frank's coaching acumen.
"I would be very surprised if he doesn't get another head coaching job at some point," Thorn told CSNNE.com earlier this season. "Things just didn't work out how he or we would have liked in New Jersey. That doesn't take away from who he is, which is a very good coach."
Frank came to Boston this summer after spending the previous six seasons as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, a tenure that ended during the 2009-2010 season in which New Jersey lost its first 16 games of the season. He began his head coaching career with a 13-0 start, the best start in NBA history by any first-year head coach. Prior to being named the Nets' head coach, he spent three-plus seasons as a Nets assistant. He has a head coaching record of 225-241.