According to two area coaches closely monitoring the situation, VCU women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings has emerged as the leading candidate to become the head coach at the University of Minnesota.

Stollings just finished her second season at VCU, the same school Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague came from. Another tie was the invitation to the Villa 7 Consortium she received as a college assistant. The Villa 7 is a networking group that ties assistant coaches to athletic directors for future head coaching positions, a project that was the brainchild of current Gophers associate athletic director Mike Ellis.

Stollings was hired by VCU in June 2012. Getting to the recruiting trail rather late, she still managed to recruit a class ranked 28th nationally and first in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

After going 11-19 in her first season, VCU rebounded to a 22-10 mark in 2013-14, losing in the first round of Women’s NIT to Princeton.

Before going to VCU, Stollings spent one season at Winthrop, coaching the school to an 18-13 record and just the third winning record in conference play in school history. She was named Big South Conference coach of the year.

Before that Stollings spent four seasons as an assistant at Mississippi, where she was responsible for overall offense, recruiting, scouting and guard development.

Stollings also had stops at Jackson University, St. Louis, Wright State and New Mexico State as an assistant coach.

A native of Beaver, Ohio, Stollings finished her high school career in 1993 as the leading scorer in Ohio history with 3,514 points.

She began her college career at Ohio State before transferring to Ohio University, where she finished eighth in the nation in scoring her senior year. After playing in college she spent one season overseas playing in Switzerland.

Staff writer Kent Youngblood contributed to this report.