Heath Begins Interview Process To Fill Vacancy

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath began the interviewing process for the vacancy on his staff over the weekend at the Final Four.

Heath said last Thursday when former assistant Rob Flaska was hired for the head coaching job at Centenary he would take two to three weeks to fill Flaska's position.

Heath, who was back in Fayetteville on Monday, declined to name who he's interviewed so far.

"I did meet with a couple of potential candidates in St. Louis," Heath said. "It is very early in the process. I'm starting to feel out their interest level in us as well as give them a chance to gauge their interest in Arkansas."

Heath said experience would be a "major factor" in his hire and he said he was looking at former head coaches as well as assistant coaches with long tenures at the Division I level.

Candidates whose names have surfaced include former East Carolina coach Bill Herrion and former Tulane coach Shawn Finney.

Former Tennessee coach Jerry Green, who fits Heath's criteria and whose name has been mentioned as a possibility, said Monday from his home in Topsail Island, N.C. that he is not a candidate to join Heath's staff.

Green, who had current Arkansas assistant Ronny Thompson on his staff at Oregon in 1994, said he would never be hired by Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles, citing the long-tenured Razorbacks AD's friendship with former Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey.

Broyles is good friends with Dickey, who is now a consultant to current Vols AD Mike Hamilton. Dickey fired Green in 2001 after he went 89-36 in four seasons with four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, consecutive Southeastern Conference Eastern Division titles (1999, 2000) and a school-record 26 wins in 2000.

Herrion, 46, was fired by East Carolina after a 9-19 season in 2004-05 with a six-year record of 70-98 and has a 237-169 record in 14 years as a head coach at ECU and Drexel.

Herrion's team didn't enjoy much success this season, but it did have two wins against NCAA Tournament participants Alabama-Birmingham and Charlotte. In 2002, Herrion knocked off No. 9 Marquette and the following season beat Louisville.

At Drexel, his teams were first or second in the America East Conference in seven of his eight seasons and earned NCAA Tournament berths from 1994-96, beating Memphis in the first round in 1996 for the program's first-ever NCAA win.

He was an assistant to Mike Jarvis at Boston University (1985-90) and at George Washington (1991) before taking the Drexel job and going 121-32 in eight seasons.

This season, East Carolina was in the top half of Conference USA in rebounding (39.9, second), field goal defense (41.6, seventh), rebounding margin (plus-3.2, fifth) and blocks (4.14, fourth).

Herrion was the runner-up for the head coaching vacancy at Siena and is currently a candidate for the head coaching job at Stonybrook.

Finney, 42, was fired after his fifth season at Tulane following a 10-18 season and a first-round exit from the Conference USA Tournament. He was 60-86 at his first head coaching stop after 15 years as an assistant.

Finney's last nine years as an assistant were spent at Kentucky coach Tubby Smith's side in all three of his stops at Tulsa, Georgia and with the Wildcats, including the 1998 NCAA title in Smith's first season with Kentucky.

Herrion did not return messages Monday and Finney was unavailable for comment.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories