Heath fills staff with Cyprien

FAYETTEVILLE -- After spending the last few weeks making phone calls and conducting interviews, Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath has found an assistant who he feels is a bit different but will also be a good fit to his staff.

New Mexico State associate coach Glynn Cyprien was hired Friday to fill the assistant job that came open in March when Ronny Thompson left to become Ball State's head coach.

Arkansas-Fort Smith coach Jeremy Cox and Radford coach Byron Samuels were also considered finalists for the job, but Heath said he chose Cyprien in large part because of his reputation for being an excellent recruiter and a defensive-minded coach.

"I had a really good pool of candidates, and at the end there was about three guys that really stood out in a way that I felt they were a great fit for us," Heath said Friday evening, moments before he conducted the first day of his basketball camp at Bud Walton Arena.

"But in the end, I just thought Glynn brought some extra qualities to the table that would really fit well and make an immediate impact for us."

Cyprien was offered the job Thursday and the deal was finalized Friday. This is the third time since Heath arrived at Arkansas in 2002 that he has had to replace an assistant coach.

During the hiring process, Heath said he heard from former Arkansas coach Eddie Sutton, who Cyprien had worked for as an assistant at Oklahoma State from 2001-04. Sutton gave Cyprien a glowing recommendation.

"I'm very familiar with Arkansas because I coached with Coach Sutton at Oklahoma State," Cyprien said in a statement released through the school. "Coach Sutton loved Arkansas and spoke highly of the university, the following and the loyalty of the fans.

"I'm also excited about going to the SEC. I'm a southern boy from New Orleans, so I've followed the SEC for a long time."

Along with Oklahoma State, Cyprien has worked as an assistant coach at UNLV, Western Kentucky and Jacksonville University.

His responsibilities at Arkansas will include working with the defense, scouting and player development. But Heath said he's particularly excited about Cyprien's ability to recruit in areas that the Razorbacks have not traditionally had much success with.

Arkansas could have as many 6-7 scholarships available in two years, and it will be a big part of Cyprien's job to find the right players to sign.

"I wanted someone that I knew could help us maybe make some inroads in Texas, Louisiana and different areas, as well as nationally and sign a very strong class in that coming class."

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