Taliaferro Out Of EMU Picture

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas assistant Oronde Taliaferro is no longer in the running for the head basketball coaching job at Eastern Michigan.

Taliaferro, 33, who has been an assistant for all of Razorbacks coach Stan Heath's three seasons - and another at Kent State in 2002 - said Tuesday he expects the job to go to one of the other candidates.

Taliaferro, a Detroit native who enjoyed success as a player and coach in his hometown, was one of five finalists to interview for the opening created by Jim Boone's firing following five non-winning seasons.

Candidates still in the running are Michigan assistant Charles Ramsey, Michigan State assistant Mark Montgomery, San Diego State assistant Brian Dutcher and Notre Dame assistant Lewis Preston.

Eastern Michigan athletic director Dave Diles has said the selection committee will name a coach by the end of this week.

"It's an honor to be considered for a Division I head coaching job, especially to be so young in the business," Taliaferro said. "I feel privileged to have been a part of the process."

Taliaferro starred for Heath at hometown Wayne State, coached Detroit Central to state championships in 1998 and 2001 and joined Heath's staff at Kent State for their surprising run to the Elite Eight in 2002.

He was recently named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivalshoops.com.

Taliaferro fit the qualifications Diles set in terms of his ties to southeastern Michigan, but his young age and his distance from the situation the past few seasons were disadvantages.

"I learned some things from the process, and I'm sure the next time it comes around I'll be better prepared," he said.

Razorbacks assistant Rob Flaska, 45, who has also been at Arkansas for all three of Heath's seasons, has applied for the vacant Eastern Illinois University head coaching position, but that job likely won't be filled until mid-April.

Flaska was an assistant coach under Billy Tubbs at TCU from 1999-2002 and helped the Horned Frogs rank in the nation's top four in scoring all four seasons.

He helped sign the Western Athletic Conference's top recruiting classes in all four seasons and he has a winning record as a head coach at the junior college level.

He was 185-75 in eight seasons at Florida Community College (64-31, 1996-98) and Mott (Mich.) Community College (121-44, 1991-97).

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