Georgia names Felton coach

April 10, 2003 at 8:27 PM
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ATHENS, Ga., April 10 (UPI) -- Vince Dooley has selected Dennis Felton to replace the embattled Jim Harrick as coach of the Georgia men's basketball team.

The school announced the hiring of Felton, who has led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years, at a Thursday news conference. He got a five-year, $3.5 million contract that includes a $400,000 buyout clause.

Felton, 39, met with Dooley, the Georgia athletic director, and school president Michael Adams in New Orleans, the site of the Final Four, this past weekend and again here on Wednesday.

"Dennis fits all the criteria we wanted in a coach," Dooley

said. "He is an up and coming coach with a history of success, is a man of integrity, an exceptional communicator and teacher, a family man and we are convinced is a perfect fit for our program."

Felton had five years left on his deal at Western Kentucky, a contract that included a stipulation that Felton's new school must play a four-year, home-and-home series with the Hilltoppers.

Felton had a five-year record of 100-54 at Western Kentucky.

Prior to taking the Western Kentucky job, he served as an

assistant under Rick Barnes at Providence and Clemson.

Harrick stepped down on March 27, less than three weeks after an academics scandal shamed the school into withdrawing from postseason play.

Georgia still may face sanctions by the NCAA for alleged academic fraud.

With that in mind, Georgia hired a firm to assist in the search for a successor and conducted checks including "NCAA compliance, media, criminal and verfication of educational history," Dooley said.

Former Chicago Bulls Coach Tim Floyd was the other finalist for the job. Dominique Wilkins, perhaps the school's most popular player, also interviewed for the position along with Creighton Coach Dana Altman and Mercer's Mark Slonaker.

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