|Tuesday, April 8
Updated: April 10, 1:38 PM ET
Felton will follow Harrick at Georgia
By Andy Katz
Georgia hired Western Kentucky's Dennis Felton today to replace Jim Harrick Sr.
The school will officially announce the move at a 7 p.m. ET news conference in Athens, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com.
Felton agreed to an offer Wednesday and will attend the news conference. Terms of the contract weren't known but it was believed to be a five- to seven-year deal. Georgia could face NCAA sanctions for violations alleged by former player Tony Cole. The violations, ranging from academic fraud to extra benefits, led to the school suspending Harrick and being held out of the SEC and NCAA Tournament.
Harrick then retired two weeks ago, albeit with a push from the Georgia administration.
Felton met with Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley and president Michael Adams twice in New Orleans at the Final Four and was in negotiations all day Wednesday. Felton fits the criteria to replace Harrick. The school was looking for someone who didn't have any NCAA violations. They also wanted someone who recruits players of high character and wins.
"I think they're getting the next great coach,'' Western Kentucky athletic director Wood Selig said Thursday. "You hear a couple of names every year that burst on the national scene. I don't think it will be very long before Dennis Felton will be mentioned everywhere among the nation's finest men's basketball coaches.''
Felton has been a model coach since being hired five years ago from his assistant's job at Clemson. Felton led Western Kentucky to three straight NCAA berths after winning the Sun Belt conference regular-season and tournament titles in each of the three seasons. Felton did his best coaching job this past season. He lost projected leading scorer Todor Pandov for the season to an ACL injury in the opening loss at Arizona. He then had to deal with the on-again, off-again plans of oft-injured center Chris Marcus.
The 39-year old Felton is one of the most respected coaches at the mid-major level, and should be able to keep Georgia in the top three in a competitive SEC East.
Felton's top assistant, Pete Herrmann, will try to get the Hilltoppers' job but he'll have competition from a number of mid-major head coaches and high-major assistants.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.