Dennis Felton Biography
Update: Dennis Felton was fired by the University of Georgia on Jan 30, 2009. This despite leading the Bulldogs to an SEC Basketball Tournament Championship last year. That ain't right! He ended up with a 75-80 career record at Georgia. Read all about UGA's new basketball coach at Mark Fox Biography.
Dennis Felton began his coaching career in a somewhat inauspicious way, as an assistant coach at a small community college in Maryland called Charles County Community College. He served in that role from 1985-1986. Following that, he went on to serve as an assistant for the University of Delaware, where he served from 1986-1990. he then took a position as an assistant coach for Tulane University (1990-1991) before taking a position at St. Joseph's University in the Atlantic-10 Conference for 2 seasons, from 1991-1992. His first foray into major conference coaching came in 1992, when he was tabbed to serve as an assistant coach at Providence College in the Big East Conference. He then moved southward to Clemson where he served as an assistant coach there from 1994-1998.
Felton's first head coaching opportunity came at Western Kentucky University. He served in this position for 5 seasons, from 1998-2003. Now, as is often the case for a first time head coach, Felton definitely went through some growing pains when he first took over as the head coach for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Thanks to Kelly M. Lambert from Flikr.com for this great picture of Coach Dennis Felton.
One can wonder whether it was the result of an adjustment period by Felton to the new role of head coach, or if it was more a result of having to begin getting his own recruits in to play for him, but his first 2 seasons were sluggish.
Over the course of those 2 seasons, Western Kentucky went 24-34. However, Felton quickly turned the program around and eventually, elevated Western Kentucky Basketball to the very top of the Sun Belt Conference. In fact, he led the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to three consecutive Sun Belt Conference tournament championships in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Following the successes of the 2003 season, the University of Georgia, impressed with the successes that Felton brought to Western Kentucky, decided that he was the man who should be the next head coach of the University o Georgia basketball team. This hiring came at a period of time in which Georgia basketball was in a precarious state, as a result of the misdeeds of previous coach Jim Harrick. As a result, Felton entered a situation in which he was limited in many ways, not the least of which in the number of scholarships that he could offer to players. In fact, he was only allowed to have nine scholarship players on roster. And yet, despite these limitations, Felton has managed to succeed at a very high level at Georgia. This success culminated in 2007-2008.
In 2007-2008 season, Felton managed to take a squad that was still suffering the NCAA scholarship restrictions brought on by Harrick, and lead them all the way to the Southeastern Conference Championship. To accomplish this task, Georgia had to face an uphill climb of 4 games scheduled in only days, winning them all, and with the win, garnering the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid, the school's first in more than 10 years.
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