Haith Tabbed by Hurricanes

The chance to get a coach who already has a pretty good understanding of what men's basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference is like was difficult to pass up. With that in mind, University of Miami athletic director Paul Dee named Frank Haith to take over the program during a press conference Monday afternoon and just months before the Hurricanes begin play in the ACC.

Haith, an associate head basketball coach at the University of Texas last season, becomes the 11th basketball coach in school history after being selected over four other candidates that were in the running for the job. It is believed the 38-year-old will make between $300,000-$400,000 after agreeing to a five-year contract.

The deal will pay Haith significantly less than Perry Clark, who was dismissed last month with three years remaining on his deal at $750,000 per season. Dee has maintained that the school was on a budget because of its financial commitments, including Clark's buyout ($2.25 million) and the ACC entrance fee ($2 million). Alabama-Birmingham head coach Mike Anderson and Virginia-Commonwealth head coach Jeff Capel withdrew their names for the UM job after receiving raises from their current schools.

However, Haith is just thrilled at the opportunity of picking up a program that has stumbled in recent years.

"I'm honored and excited to be joining the University of Miami," said Haith, who has spent 16 seasons as an assistant coach. "This university is in a dynamic place and with the Convocation Center I believe the pieces are in place for this to be a very successful basketball program."

Haith had been at Texas since 2001, where he worked as the top assistant to Longhorns head coach Rick Barnes. During Haith's tenure Texas advanced to the Sweet 16 twice (2002, 2004) and the Final Four once (2003) during the past three years. But it was Haith's experience and knowledge of the ACC that clearly made him the perfect choice in Dee's eyes. Haith worked from 1997-2001 at Wake Forest under Dave Odom.

"Frank is an outstanding individual and extremely knowledgeable basketball person. He is in my opinion the top assistant coach in the nation and has proven to be one of the top recruiters," said Dee. "Growing up in North Carolina and coaching at Wake Forest he's obviously knowledgeable about the ACC and its basketball tradition. Off the court, he's also been active in his community where he has been."

As an assistant coach, Haith has recruited six McDonald All-Americans, including Rodney Rogers (1990,Wake Forest), Jerald Brown (1995, Texas A&M), Brad Buckman (2002, Texas), LaMarcus Alridge (2004, Texas), Daniel Gibson (2004, Texas) and Michael Williams (2004, Texas). He has coached six current NBA players, including Rogers, T.J. Ford, Josh Howard, Calvin Booth, Chris Owens and Darius Songalia.

But despite his impressive credentials Haith has plenty of work ahead. He takes over a UM program that is 25-33 over the past two seasons after advancing to the Sweet 16 four years ago. Miami was 14-16 last season and failed to reach the Big East tournament for the first time since joining the conference.

"I don't know how long it's going to take," said Haith. "But we're going to work very hard to get this program back where it belongs."

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