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Coaching Search - Two leaders for vacant position

ATHENS, Ga. - Amid indications that Georgia has reached the final stages of its search for a new basketball coach, <b>Tim Floyd</b> and <b>Dennis Felton</b> appear to have emerged as the leading candidates.

Floyd reportedly twice turned down offers from Clemson, which Saturday announced Oliver Purnell of Dayton as its new coach. One source close to the Georgia search said Saturday Floyd's decision to reject the Clemson offer "should tell you something.''

However, there are indications Floyd could have interest in the opening at Pittsburgh, which also is looking for a new coach after Ben Howland was hired by UCLA this week.

According to reports, Floyd also turned down an offer from Penn State. Floyd, who was the first candidate interviewed by Georgia, has been out of coaching since December of 2001, when he was fired by the Chicago Bulls.

Before posting a 49-190 record in four seasons with the Bulls, Floyd was successful in building programs at Idaho, New Orleans and Iowa State. In 12 seasons as a college head coach, Floyd had 11 winning records and took Iowa State to the 1997 Sweet 16.

Georgia also has requested permission to interview former Georgia player and assistant coach Mark Slonaker, now the Mercer head coach. Slonaker has been open in expressing his interest in a return to Georgia.

Floyd, Felton and Slonaker are in New Orleans this weekend, when Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley, associate athletic director Damon Evans and University of Georgia president Michael Adams are conducting more interviews.

Felton, who has taken Western Kentucky to three straight NCAA tournaments, also was on Clemson's list of potential candidates. Felton is expected to be interviewed by Dooley and Evans in New Orleans  this weekend.

Georgia also has interviewed former Georgia and Atlanta Hawks standout Dominique Wilkins, but Wilkins is not thought to be a serious candidate due to his lack of coaching experience and the fact he did not earn his degree at Georgia.


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