Past continuous/past perfect continuous with "for two years before finally giving up last year"

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Ground Zero

Senior Member
Korean-Korea
The university ( ) eagerly searching for a competent replacement for Professor Davis for two years before finally giving up last year.
A.was
B.had been

I don't know why A isn't correct. To show the searching precedes Davis' giving up( :cross::arrow:giving up), is B obligatory?
 
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