PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Iona basketball coach Tim Welsh, coming off a 27-5 season and an NCAA tournament appearance, could become Providence's coach as early as today, according to published reports.

The Providence Journal-Bulletin, New York Post and New York Daily News reported today that Welsh is expected to replace Pete Gillen as Providence's coach. Gillen left last weekend to coach Virginia.

``I've been contacted by Providence about the job,'' Welsh told the New York Post on Tuesday night. ``I can't say anything at this time.''

The Post and Daily News, citing unidentified sources, said Welsh agreed to a six-year deal with Providence.

Welsh, 36, is 70-22 in three seasons at Iona. He took over the Gaels in 1994-95 when his father, Jerry, then the head coach, became ill.