How is Mike Bohn going to spend the $500,000 buyout owed to Colorado from either Jeff Bzdelik or Wake Forest?

Well, the CU athletic director should probably consider paying Metro State athletic director Joan McDermott a finder`s fee.

CU hired Linda Lappe away from Metro State and introduced her as the new women`s head coach on Monday.

On Friday night the search committee interviewed Mike Dunlap -- who led Metro State to a pair of Division II national championships in 2000 and 2002 -- as a candidate to be the next CU head coach on the men`s side.

"Mike would be the absolute best and I`m not exaggerating," McDermott said during an interview with the Camera. "Even right out of Metro State he would have been the right choice, but now he just has the added experience with the Nuggets and in college."

CU associate head coach Steve McClain interviewed for the job on Thursday night, and Northern Colorado head coach Tad Boyle also met with the CU search committee on Friday.

Boyle, a former Colorado prep star, turned UNC into a mid-major NCAA contender this season.

Dunlap was a finalist to replace Ricardo Patton three years ago but withdrew his name from consideration when it became clear that Bohn was focused on luring Bzdelik away from Air Force.

Dunlap was then hired by George Karl as a Denver Nuggets assistant before being named associate headcoach at Arizona for the 2008-09 season and associate head coach at Oregon for the 2009-10 season.

"Mike is a great motivator. His players play hard and graduate. He`s tough, but the kids love him," McDermott said. "He`s the smartest guy I know."

Dunlap said Friday night that he`s kept a close eye on the program even though he spent the last two seasons out of state, first at Arizona and then at Oregon.

"I know about the work Jeff`s been doing here and how he addressed some of the problems," Dunlap said. "They`re getting new practice facilities, they`ve got locker rooms, coaches` offices and a number of other improvements. This is a quality place and an opportunity to take an underdog and continue to move forward."

McClain turned down an opportunity to join Bzdelik at Wake Forest for the chance to pursue the top job at CU. The former Wyoming head coach has been conducting individual workouts with the Buffs and hosting recruits during a critical signing period.

McClain told the Camera he felt really good about how his three-hour interview went with the search committee.

Bzdelik left his other assistants to fend for themselves after officially being named the head coach at Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Derrick Clark is in pretty good position to remain with the Buffs considering he has worked with McClain at CU the past three seasons and was an assistant under Dunlap at Metro State after playing for him professionally in Australia.

"Derrick is a rising star in this business; his energy and professionalism takes a back seat to no one," is how Bzdelik describes Clark on the assistant`s bio at cubuffs.com. "His foundation as a coach is under the tutelage of Mike Dunlap."

Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon, who rebuilt the programs at Jacksonville State and Wichita State with Boyle serving as his top assistant, said his former KU teammate is capable of taking CU to greater heights in the Big 12.

"Tad is the best assistant I`ve ever had. He was like a co-head coach when I had him and he helped me build two programs," Turgeon said during a telephone interview with the Camera. "Tad is ready to take a program to the next step and he knows how to build a program.

"Jeff did a good job there and they`re close. Everybody`s pointing to next year for them, and I think Tad can get them there."

All three candidates have received strong support from big names.

Nuggets star Chauncey Billups, like the current Buffs, would like to see McClain promoted. Karl reached out to Bohn to consider Dunlap again. And Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown has lobbied for Boyle.

"One of the most refreshing things about this experience is the intensity of interest from the media and on the national landscape," Bohn said earlier in the week. "It`s the type interest we want to feel consistently here with our fan base and our student base.

"When it`s on, it`s awesome. But we need to sustain it and find a way to keep that going and we have to find a coach that can make that happen for us."

CU is expected to make a decision quickly and the announcement of a new head coach could come as soon as Monday.