The rumors around Ohio State men’s basketball assistant coach Jeff Boals continue to swirl, and recent speculation pegs him as the leading candidate for the Fresno State opening. Boals, 38, has been an assistant on coach Thad Matta’s staff since the 2009–10 season. Reports connecting Boals to the openings at Dayton, Kent State and Fresno State surfaced after OSU was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on March 25. Fresno State athletic department spokesman Paul Ladwig did not comment on specific candidates for the opening. “The Fresno State search for a new head men’s basketball coach is moving forward, and nearing the conclusion of the process,” Ladwig wrote in an email to The Lantern on Monday . “We have never created a time or day to have this process complete. We have a great pool of finalists and (are) looking forward to the next era of Bulldog basketball to begin.” Boals did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment. The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday that Boals had not yet been offered the Fresno State job, but he will be in Fresno, Calif., today. “If he does leave, we’ll miss him a lot,” former Buckeye Eddie Days said. “He’s only been here two years, but he established himself as a great coach and a great asset to the team.” Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh, a part of the search committee, held the same position at Ohio University from 1995–05. Boals was an assistant with the Bobcats from 1995–96, and played basketball at the school from 1991–95. Former Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland was reassigned as an athletic department administrator on March 17. Under his new contract he will likely assist in the school’s move to the Mountain West conference in fall 2012. In his six seasons with the Bulldogs, Cleveland recorded a 92-98 campaign. Dayton named former Arizona assistant Archie Miller head coach Sunday. Neither OSU nor Kent State could not be reached for comment. In February, Boals told The Lantern he hoped to be a head coach one day. “I haven’t thought about it, as far as when it’s going to happen, but that’s my ultimate goal, to be a Division I head coach,” Boals said. “Obviously, I feel like I’m in a great situation at Ohio State, and it would have to be a really special situation for me to leave here.”