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Celtics assistant Frank “consultant” in Tennessee job search. Right.

Mar 23, 2011, 3:29 PM EDT

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And now the spin starts….

Yesterday we told you how Celtics lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank was an early front-runner in the search for a new head coach at Tennessee. Frank used to be an assistant coach there before going on to the NBA.

Now the spin comes back that university officials were only talking to Frank as a consultant on the job search, sources told A. Sherrod Blakely at CSN New England. To get his input on other people interested in the job that might be a good fit.

Right. If that is all you think was going on I want to sell you tickets to a special dinner engagement with Tupac and Elvis.

This is how a coaching search works: Frank (and/or his agent) will be contacted through back channels by unofficial university representatives to gauge if there is interest and a fit well before any official contact is made. So, maybe the official Vols contact with Frank was to ask who he thought would be a good replacement for the recently canned Bruce Pearl, but it came with subtext.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons Frank may want to only recommend others for that job. It’s a football school, the basketball program is about to get slapped with NCAA sanctions, and Frank is knee deep with the Celtics right now and will be for a couple more months, meaning the job would sit vacant for a long time before he steps in. Oh, and there’s the fact he likely will get another shot at an NBA job in the coming years (maybe with Boston, depending on what Doc Rivers decides to do).

But officially, Frank is a consultant. That’s today’s story.

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