Colorado has hired the search firm Eastman & Beaudine to help identify candidates for its next women's basketball coach.

Eastman & Beaudine, based out of Plano, Texas, has a reputation as one of the top search firms in the country. The firm has helped to match schools around the country with athletic directors and coaches in various sports.

The NCAA women's championship game is slated for April 5, and CU is hoping to have a new coach in place by then.

CU parted ways with head coach Linda Lappe on March 7. A former CU player, Lappe coached the Buffs for six seasons.

Lappe was fired with three years remaining her contract. The total cost for buying out Lappe's deal is $930,566, to be paid monthly through April 2019. She is owed $103,323 for the rest of 2016, $291,968 for both the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years and $243,307 for the 2019 fiscal year.

During the next three years, if Lappe is hired as a head coach at a Division I school or gets a job as a head or assistant coach in the WNBA, her salary would offset the amount she is owed by CU.

In recent years, the Buffs have bought out contracts for former athletic director Mike Bohn, former football coaches Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree and former women's basketball coach Kathy McConnell-Miller. Those buyouts were all paid as lump sums. Lappe's is the first buyout that will be done over an extended period of time.

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.