Person Vows He'll Finish His Degree

Chuck Person talks about his new assignment as an assistant basketball coach at Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.--When Tony Barbee was hired as Auburn head men's basketball coach four years ago one of the candidates interviewed for the job was Chuck Person.

One of the reasons the NBA assistant coach didn't get the assignment was that he had not finished his undergraduate degree at Auburn before moving on to a success career as a player and coach at the professional level.

On Monday, after being officially announced as an assistant coach at Auburn on new head coach Bruce Pearl's staff, Person let it be know that he plans to finish his degree.

"When I interviewed for the job (in 2010) the degree issue came up," he said. "A degree is very important to me. I was very lucky that I went to the pros and stayed in the pros for such a long time and became a coach. It was a career for a long time.

"I was very lucky," Person said. "If I had been a younger kid at age 30 trying to come back to Auburn to coach it probably wouldn't have happened without a degree. I was very fortunate that my life experiences allowed me the opportunity to coach on this team.

"I do plan on getting a degree," said Person, a two-time All-American for the Tigers in the 1980s. "It's very important that I get a degree and I'm going to get a degree. I have a plan in place that I have worked out with the academic staff here.

"It's going to happen and it will happen very quickly," he added. "I'm not sure how many hours I have right now, but we do have a plan in place. Coach Pearl signed off on it and so did the university. We are looking forward to me getting a degree and I'll eventually get a degree from Auburn. The amount of time it will take, I'm not sure, but it will happen because we have a plan in place."

Person, who received high recommendations for the job from numerous NBA head coaches, said his experience in the league will help him with his new job.

"I tell you one thing, it's going to help us get better players in here," Person said. "Being in the pros and working with the likes of Phil Jackson and in the front office with Larry Bird and coaching Kobe Bryant, I think players understand that. They want to be coached by the best.

"Coach Pearl has coached a lot of pro players," said Person, who was NBA Rookie of the Year with the Indiana Pacers. "He has a system that is conducive to guys getting to the pros, which is the next level that every kid wants to do.

"Being there as a player and coach, I think we can help players reach their dreams," Person said. "If they can't reach their dreams then we're going to make sure they go to class. We're going to win the classroom as well as on the court. That's the main thing Coach Pearl stressed to me when he hired me. We're going to win every phase of what we do--conditioning, classroom, games, life. We're going to win everything. That vision and philosophy fits well with me and that's what is going to happen moving forward."

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