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Loyola assistant coach Bryan Mullins (second from left), a former Saluki standout, looks on during the second half against Southern Illinois at SIU Arena in 2016.

CARBONDALE — SIU is "in talks" to try to bring Bryan Mullins back to Carbondale as its next head men's basketball coach, according to a report by KFVS-TV Saturday night.

The Southern Illinoisan has not independently confirmed the report. The Southern has previously reported Mullins was the logical frontrunner for the job with his background.

Mullins, an SIU Hall of Fame point guard who helped Loyola reach the Final Four last season as an assistant coach, has long been considered the frontrunner for the job since Barry Hinson resigned at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Mullins is the Salukis' all-time assists leader and would have beaten Darren Brooks' steals record had stress fracture injuries not ended his final two seasons prematurely. Mullins is currently the associate head coach for the Ramblers, who captured the regular-season Valley title this season and are awaiting their assignment in the NIT today. 

Mullins has never been a head coach, but SIU athletic director Jerry Kill said that would not be a make-or-break situation when deciding on the next men's basketball coach. Former coach Bruce Weber was a longtime assistant at Purdue before becoming SIU's head coach, and took the Salukis to the 2002 Sweet 16. 

"Is there some value to head coaching? Of course there is, because you've been through the ranks, but at the same time, you can't be a head coach if you never get the chance," Kill said at a press conference last week. "I just want the best coach. I want a ball coach. I'm not worried about who's winning the press conference. I want a great basketball coach. It's got to be the fit, from the Midwest, somebody I trust dearly, because at the end of the day, it's going to be either I screwed up or I made the right decision. I'm going to make sure we make the right decision."

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On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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