Jones Hires Two Assistants For Marshall Hoops

HUNTINGTON - Marshall's new head men's basketball coach Donnie Jones has announced the hiring of two fellow West Virginia natives, Shawn Finney and Brett Nelson, to his basketball staff. Finney was the head coach at Tulane in Conference USA from 2000-2005. He most recently a member of Tubby Smith's staff at the University of Kentucky for the 2006-07 season and is a Mullins, W.Va., native.

Brett Nelson, a former recruit and player at the University of Florida under Jones and Billy Donovan, is from St. Albans, W.Va. Shawn Finney was an assistant coach for Tubby Smith at Tulsa (1991-95), Georgia (1995-97) and Kentucky (1997-2000), where he won a national championship in 1998, before accepting the head coaching position at Tulane, which he held from 2000-05. A native of Mullens, W.Va., Finney received his undergraduate degree from Fairmont State in 1985, and his master's from Tulsa in 1992.

"Shawn brings great experience and leadership after his five years of head coaching experience at Tulane and building winning programs with Tubby Smith through the years," said Jones. "He's won a national championship, and brings great energy and passion for the game." Finney was thrilled to be back in the Mountain State. "I'm extremely excited to come back and work for Donnie Jones and Marshall," said Finney. "It's always great to come back home, and I think we are building something special here at Marshall."

Brett Nelson will join Donnie Jones' staff at Marshall..

Nelson played his high school basketball for the St. Albans Red Dragons and Marshall Hall of Fame member Tex Williams - the father of Adam Williams, who transferred from Kentucky to Marshall last season and is eligible for the coming season. Nelson ended his prep career as the all-time leading career scorer in state history (for three years played) with 2,199 points. As a senior in 1999, the star guard averaged 31.9 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds. At Florida, Nelson set school records for three-pointers made (274) and attempted (689). Nelson scored 1,416 career points and ranks second on the Gators' all-time list in steals (199) and sixth in assists per game (3.16).

Nelson played professionally in Sweden and the Continental Basketball Association from 2003-05, and most recently was a member of former Herd and Florida assistant Anthony Grant's staff at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006-07 as the Rams advanced to the NCAA Tournament in Grant's first season as the head coach at VCU. "I'm really excited to be here," said Nelson. "I've known Donnie since I was 12-years old, and I really trust him and what he's trying to do. I'm thrilled to be here."

"Brett was a relentless worker as a player and will bring the same as a coach," said Jones. "He has a great work ethic and understands the system we're trying to implement here at Marshall." Nelson is expected to fill the position of director of basketball operations, so at least two more full-time coaches will still be hired by Jones, who will begin recruiting off-campus for Marshall on Friday, following up on text messages and phone calls made since he arrived at Marshall on Tuesday to start his career as MU's head coach.

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