Arkansas Chooses Heath

Stan Heath, who guided 10th-seeded Kent State to within one win of the Final Four, has been named the men's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas.

Heath, a former assistant under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, led the Golden Flashes to a 30-6 finish, including a spot opposite Indiana in the NCAA South Region final, in his first season as a head coach.

The 2002 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year set a KSU record for wins (30) and consecutive wins (21), set a MAC record for wins by a first-year coach and led Kent to its first MAC regular-season title as the Golden Flashes set a league record with 17 conference victories (17-1).

Before going to Kent, the Detroit native, 37, was a five-year assistant (1997-01) under Izzo at Michigan State. He helped the Spartans win the 2000 national title, advance to the Final Four three consecutive years (1999, 2000, 2001), win four straight Big Ten Conference regular-season titles and win Big Ten Tournament crowns in 1999 and 2000. Along the way, the Spartans were a combined 132-37, including a 115-25 mark over the last four seasons.

While at MSU, he coached 2001 All-Americans Jason Richardson and Charlie Bell, and earlier coached All-Americans and NBA first-round draft picks Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. He recruited four McDonald's High School All-Americans to MSU - Richardson, Marcus Taylor, Zach Randolph and Kelvin Torbert.

At Arkansas, he takes over a program coming off a 14-15 season, but the Razorbacks had participated in 15 straight national post-season tournaments, including 13 NCAA Tournament bids with a national championship in 1994, a runner-up finish in 1995, a Final Four appearance in 1990, an Elite Eight appearance in 1991 and Sweet 16 appearances in 1993 and 1996.

Arkansas' 14-15 finish is its first losing record since 1986. Since 1975, UA has had just two losing seasons and earned NCAA bids 22 times.

Heath, who earned his bachelor's degree in social science from Eastern Michigan in 1988 and his master's in sports administration from Wayne State in 1993, was an assistant at Bowling Green State University in 1995 and 1996. From 1992-94, he was an assistant at Wayne State (Mich.) University, helping the Tartars reach the NCAA Division II playoffs all three years at the Detroit school with two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season titles, a trip to the national semifinals in 1993, a league tournament championship and a record of 70-23. He was associate head coach in 1994 when Wayne State set a school record for victories (25-5), including a 17-game winning streak.

The three-time letterman at Eastern Michigan University (1985, '86, '87) began his collegiate coaching career as the top assistant at Hillsdale College in 1989 before going to Albion College, where he was the top assistant and junior varsity head coach, for two years. He started in the high school ranks, serving as assistant varsity and head freshman coach at Lincoln High in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1988.

An all-state performer at Catholic Central High in Detroit, he is married to the former Ramona Webb and they have two sons, Jordan, nine, and Joshua, six.

Heath, the 11th coach in Arkansas' 79-year history, takes over for Nolan Richardson, who had the remaining six years of his contract bought-out by the university on March 1.

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