Add Chris Ford to the list, and take Jay Wright off.

Yesterday, 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski announced that he had interviewed six candidates for the team's head coaching vacancy, two more than had been reported.

The two additions were Ford, a former head coach of the Boston Celtics and the Sixers, and Wright, the head coach at Villanova.

Wright has already told Stefanski thanks but no thanks, leaving five candidates in the mix: Eddie Jordan, Dwane Casey, Kurt Rambis, Tom Thibodeau, and Ford.

Until six months ago, Jordan was the head coach of the Washington Wizards, a job he lost after they started the season 1-10. Casey, the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves for 11/2 seasons, is an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks.

Rambis is an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, a team he coached to a 24-13 record in the strike-shortened season of 1998-99. Thibodeau has spent 19 seasons as an NBA assistant coach, the last two with the Celtics.

Stefanski announced that he would be conducting "further interviews, extensive research, and in-depth background checks," and would set no timetable for his final selection.

He would not comment on whom he might add to the list, which is in keeping with a search that has been private from its inception.

Immediate speculation turned to assistant coaches from winning NBA franchises, as well as Avery Johnson, the former Dallas Mavericks head coach, and Doug Collins, the current TNT analyst, whose name was attached to the search even before the job was vacant.

Johnson's agent, Tyler Glass, said yesterday that his client had not been contacted by the Sixers. A source close to Collins said he had not been contacted, either.

Stefanski called the process "due diligence" and the decision "very important regarding the future direction of the franchise."

With Wright's name on and off the list more quickly than a ball bounces, there was little time to speculate on the local commotion created by the possibility of his jumping from the big-name college - fresh off a trip to the Final Four - to the NBA team across town.

Wright said he and Stefanski spoke about the job last week.

"He is a longtime friend of mine whom I have great respect for and is someone I talk to often," Wright said in a statement. "We had a lively conversation about the vision Ed has for the Sixers organization. As a lifelong Sixers fan, I was honored to be part of the process."

Wright said he called Stefanski after the meeting and requested removal from consideration.

"I love Villanova and it is where I want to be," Wright said.

A source confirmed that Ford had also interviewed for the position, which was vacated almost two weeks ago when Tony DiLeo withdrew from consideration.

Ford serves as a pro personnel scout for the Sixers. He coached the Celtics from 1990 to '95 and was an interim head coach of the Sixers in 2004.

"As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills," Stefanski said.