Smith assembles UK staff

Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Tubby Smith believes he has brought in some overachievers to serve on his first basketball coaching staff at the University of Kentucky.

''I think you've got to have people who are competent and who can get the job done,'' Smith said at a news conference Tuesday as he introduced George Felton, Shawn Finney and Mike Sutton.

''It will be a race to see who can outwork each other. I think that's a key to having a successful program.''

Felton had Smith on his staff when he was head coach at South Carolina, but he doesn't see a problem in the role reversal.

''It's like a friendship,'' Felton said. ''I want to be here for a long while. I'm not using this as a steppingstone.''

Felton, 44, compiled an 87-62 record from 1986-91 at South Carolina, the first three years with Smith. He has spent the past six seasons as an assistant at Georgia Tech (1991-92), St. John's (1992-95) and Oregon State (1995-97).

''I've been an assistant coach longer than a head coach,'' said Felton, who al so served as an assistant at Georgia Tech from 1981-86. ''I think I understand that role.''

Felton said he turned down an assistant's position with UK coach Joe B. Hall in 1984.

''It's a privilege and honor to be associated with maybe the premier program in the United States,'' he said.

Sutton, 41, has been with Smith for the past three seasons, one at Tulsa and two at Georgia.

He will be the No. 3 assistant and will be restricted from recruiting off-campus.

Sutton also spent the 1978-79 season as Smith's assistant at Hoke County High School in Raeford, N.C. The following season they served together as assistants at Virginia Commonwealth.

''He understands the game very well,'' Smith said. ''He's coached at every level. He's done a great job everywhere he's been.''

Finney, 34, has assisted Smith the past six years.

He served as a part-time assistant coach for three years at Tulsa before being promoted to full-time assistant during the 1994-95 season. He held the same title at Georgia for the past two seasons.

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Here is a capsule look at the three University of Kentucky assistant basketball coaches who will serve under Tubby Smith in his first season as UK head coach:

GEORGE FELTON

AGE: 44

1995-97: Assistant coach, Oregon State

1992-95: Assistant coach, St. John's

1991-92: Assistant coach, Georgia Tech

1986-91: Head coach, S. Carolina (87-62 record)

1981-86: Assistant coach, Georgia Tech

SHAWN FINNEY

AGE: 34

1995-97: Assistant coach, Georgia

1990-95: Assistant coach, Tulsa

1987-90: Assistant coach, Randolph-Macon

1986-87: Assistant coach, Pikeville (Ky.) College

1985: Assistant coach, Garrett Comm. College (Md.)

MIKE SUTTON

AGE: 41

1995-97: Assistant coach, Georgia

1994-95: Assistant coach, Tulsa

1981-94: High school head coach

1980-81: Assistant coach, Virginia Commonwealth

1979-80: Assistant high school coach

1978-79: Assistant coach, Lees-McRae (N.C.) Junior College

1977-78: Assistant high school coach

Publication date: 06-18-97

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