Georgia fires Felton
ATHENS, Ga. -- Dennis Felton, who last season led Georgia's basketball program to an improbable SEC tournament championship, was fired on Thursday morning, the school announced.
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Under the terms of Felton's contract, Georgia will owe him about $1.5 million to buy out the final two years of his contract, which was scheduled to expire in June 2011. Georgia gave Felton a $50,000 raise and one-year contract extension in March 2007. He was paid $760,000 annually.After Felton led the Bulldogs to an SEC tournament championship and 17-17 record in 2007-08, Georgia didn't extend his contract. Felton didn't attend the news conference Thursday and wasn't available for comment. "I was hoping that we'd build upon the success that we had in the SEC tournament," Evans said. "That's what all the Georgia fans wanted; that's what we wanted; that's what Dennis wanted. We thought it would be a momentum-builder for us. To be where we are today is disappointing." Evans said the search for Felton's successor would begin immediately. Evans said the school would hire an outside search firm to assist in the interview process. Among the candidates believed to be high on Georgia's list of potential replacements are Oklahoma's Jeff Capel; Xavier's Sean Miller; UNLV's Lon Kruger; Baylor's Scott Drew; and Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, who had a 45-19 record in two seasons at Georgia from 1995 to 1997, also will be considered for the opening, sources close to the situation said. Smith led Georgia to consecutive 20-win seasons before leaving for Kentucky in 1997. "I'll say this: Our commitment and my commitment to build Georgia basketball is strong," Evans said. "And when I say strong, I'll add very strong onto that. We're going to go out and find the best possible person for this job. That may mean we commit more resources than we have in the past but we're not letting that hold us back from doing what we need to do to have a successful men's basketball program." Mark Schlabach covers the SEC for ESPN.com.
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