Drake hires Arizona State assistant Mark Phelps

Updated: April 21, 2008, 4:02 PM ET
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Arizona State assistant Mark Phelps was hired as Drake's men's basketball coach Monday, replacing Keno Davis.

Phelps' hiring came less than a week after Davis took the Providence job. School officials said Phelps was their top choice.

Phelps recalled hearing from Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb.

"One day last week, Sandy called me ... and told me about Drake University, about the Drake experience and immediately I just got excited," Phelps said after his introductory news conference.

"We had another conversation on the phone. I was up here the next day, and now I'm the coach. It was just a whirlwind," he said.

The 42-year-old Phelps spent more than a decade as an assistant to Arizona State coach Herb Sendek, both in Tempe and during Sendek's earlier tenure at North Carolina State. Previously, Phelps was a high school coach in Virginia, compiling a .736 winning percentage over six years at two schools.

He replaces Davis, the first-year coach who led the Bulldogs to one of the best years in school history. Drake compiled a 28-5 record, won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles, and earned the school's first NCAA tournament berth since 1971 and first national ranking in 33 years.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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