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January 29, 2009

Dennis Felton Terminated


"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving,
you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.
And so today I still have a dream." - MLK

Today, the University of Georgia will announce the termination of Dennis Felton as head basketball coach. Rather than spend time kicking the guy when he's down, I'm moving straight ahead to what's next.

One of my core beliefs about sports boils down to this....
Fans want a winner, but they need hope.
If you lose hope for victory or even improvement/progress, then what is left as a fan? Ultimately, that's why I think Coach Felton had to go. Going forward, I'll be doing a series of articles called "Profiles in Hope" in which we look at viable potential candidates to replace Coach Felton and reasons for optimism going forward.

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things,
and no good thing ever dies." - Andy Defresne

The recruiting base in state is un-matched. In fact, there's no basketball talent market superior to Atlanta within 600-700 miles of Athens. It's one of the few jobs in America where you can recruit your butt off for this program and still tuck your kids in most nights.

We've also invested in THE world class basketball practice facility, and the Athletic Department has plans for renovating Stegeman on the table. There is no reason why we can't be successful.

At 11:00 today, Damon Evans should focus his time on the future. He should outline our reasons for hope.

Note: This is happening during "real-life" work hours, therefore I'm skeptical that I'll be able to post much about the press conference immediately following it. There will most certainly be coverage and commentary after work.



Anonymous said...

Good luck Coach, and good luck Damon. Please get a good one!

A-Phiz said...

It's sad that it had to come to this but we need the change. Best of luck Coach Felton but now it's time to move on to hopefully more winning ways.

Jarred said...

Sam Mitchell. Thats who I think we should go after. Former NBA coach of the year (2007), and is interested in the UGA position. It gives us instant credibilty, because players will know what it takes to get to the league if their coach was formerly there. I like the call all around.

C. Paul said...

Looking back at my thoughts when CDF was hired, I thought he'd be a home run coach. Great pedigree (working under Rick Barnes), success at WKU etc. but for whatever reason it never took.

I concur wholeheartedly with your assessment and look forward to who we bring in.

Best wishes CDF-

Go Dawgs!!

Mike in Valdosta said...

A second for Sam Mitchell. I will take all the "one and done's" we can get at this point.

I never like to see anyone fired. I was a big Ray Goff fan, but it wasn't working out and the program needed a change. Ron Jirsa was/is a good man but a change was required. I feel for the players enduring a mid-year coaching change.

The above not withstanding, this was a needed change. I would not change the tourney championship for anything, but it did set us back a year in recruiting in that it forced Evans to keep Felton.

I wish Felton the best and hope he finds success as a head coach sooner rather than later. It was awful hard watching the game last night, but as I told my wife at halftime, "This is the bottoming-out process required in order to get things turned around."

Sam Mitchell can and will lead us to the promised land, or at a minimum competitiveness.

Forever a Dawg!

Anonymous said...


Coach Obama.

Anonymous said...

Heck with Mitchell....Lets Pny up the cash & go after Lon Kuger!!!

Paul Westerdawg said...


Sam Mitchell has *never* recruited a kid in his life, and he has a career losing record in the NBA.

Hell, he's 32 games under .500 professionally, and he has only won 45% of his games.

PLEASE tell me we can do better than that.

If he weren't from the State of Georgia, and he didn't have a UGA Alum as an agent, would we even be talking about him?

Maybe he's the next Wooden. But I just don't see it.

Mike in Valdosta said...


Can't argue with facts, but he has that NBA experience as a player and coach, coach of the year in fact. When he tells a kid he knows what it takes to play in "the league" it will resonate. When we look at all the talent that has escaped our state or ended up on North Ave how can we not combat that head on. We do not have Kentucky across our uniforms, we do not have University center and all those available co-eds a few blocks to the south, we don't have the Cheetah.

We can take a chance on a guy that knows the game. What is Lon Kruger's NBA coaching record? What is his Big10 and SEC record? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Not to say it is desperation to hire him.

We cannot take a chance on a young up and comer with no name recognition in this state. The University of Georgia, as much as we love it, is not going to recruit players on name recognition or brand when it comes to basketball. Sam Mitchell will give us NBA credibility and that will go along way in recruiting NBA lottery type talent.

Anonymous said...

For all you people wanting Sam Mitchell, I think we have done a heck of a lot better with Mark Richt than South Carolina has done with Spurrier.

RedCrake said...

I say we go get Bobby Knight.

I don't know how well the team would do, but the possibility of that walking, talking pile of crazy chucking furniture across Stegeman would pack the place out nightly.

Elvis Nixon said...

Knight seems like a very South Carolina type of hire...but then again, we are kind of the SC of basketball (minus the myopic view of our program)...I say go for it! Just keep Adams away from Knight or Adams may end up stuffed in a trash can.

RedCrake said...

All the more reason to hire him.

mitch said...

Thank god we went ahead and fired him and didnt leave the chance of another miracle run to save his job. Now Damon please go get us a good coach!!

Anonymous said...

Just because you hear a name in the paper, it doesn't mean that guy is the best hire. The power of read and regurgitate is strong among our fanbase. Someone (cough, Paul) just needs to float a story that someone decent is interested in our job, and our fanbase will be adamant that he is "our" guy for sure and carry the name home to the ignorant masses.

I am only have kidding. And not calling any proponent of a Mitchell hire as ignorant, fwiw.

James said...

I don't know about Mitchell.......seems like a Lane Kiffin type hire. We could not say this back in 2003, but UGA should now be able to attract very good candidates for this job. I hope that we take our time and find the best fit.

A lot of people love Grant. I do too. My hope is that if we get someone like him he can have a lot of success early and realize the potential of this program.

But I am certainly hoping that we'll also be talking to people who are already proven coaches. No one with NCAA issues apply, please.

Got that Adams?

Jarred said...

No way Bob Knight would even consider it.

I like the NBA coach because of what Mike said, credibility in the NBA. And really thats what these kids are looking for anyways. They want to know what it takes to make it to the league.

If we don't go after Sam, then I do like the young fiery coach. Key word is fiery. Fiery is fun, it brings people into the stands, and kids generally like that coach. I don't want UGA to be a proving ground for a coach who is looking for a step up, but to think that we can land an elite proven coach I think is still beyond our means.

rbubp said...

I really think the way this team played had everything to do with the in-season firing. They were so completely awful, so completely overwhelmed (In Dennis' own words). We really can't have a Division 2 team in a BCS conference.

rbubp said...

Adams and Dooley ought to be forever banished from attending basketball for what they have done to the program in their own separate ways.

watcher16 said...

I heard we're going after coach K ;)

Irwin R. Flecther said...

The Kruger-Mitchell comparison really doesn't work since Kruger had SEC and Big 10 coaching experience before crapping out in the NBA and Mitchell has no college experience but still crapped out in the NBA.

Kruger and Calapari and Pitino are good examples of good to great college coaches who sucked in the NBA.

Mitchell is just a good example of a bad NBA coach.

Someone help me understand why he is even being mentioned.

Mike in Valdosta said...

Mitchell has expressed his interest in the job. I think is active in AAU throughout Georgia.

As for Anthony Grant, he may be the real deal. There are, however, too many similarities to between Grant and Felton. Grant probably has a little stronger resume and more momentum than Felton did, but I still do not see how he will out-recruit the competition.

Bottom line is, without talent coaching really doesn't matter. We need a recruiter first and a X's and O's second.

I love CMR, but he is not the best X's and O's guy. He is a very good, a better recruiter and a great man.

I do not know anything about the character of Sam Mitchell, but when he had talent in the NBA he won. When the talent left for financial reasons (GM change, etc..) he lost. His NBA career and that NBA Coach of the Year award sorry for being repetitive) will get us in these recruit's doors. It will impress the Mama. It will get our players evaluated by NBA scouts. Who you know matters as much in professional sports as it does in any other industry.

My point is we cannot simply dismiss Mitchell because he had a bad year with a bad team in the NBA.

Jeremy said...

As a fellow Mercer alum, I'd love to see Sam Mitchell get the job. He's a heck of a coach who did a lot with little talent in Toronto (excluding this current year).

Bob Knight would NEVER coach the Dawgs. I brought it up last night as a joke.

Kruger seems to be a good fit too though.

My personal wish list goes like this:

1. Bob Knight (ain't gonna happen)
2. Sam Mitchell (gotta represent Mercer)
3. Kruger
4. Grant

Erik C. Kriebel said...

What about Craig Robinson. He might be 9-10 at Oregon State but he tripled OSU's conference record this year. Oh and maybe he could bring his brother in law BARACK OBAMA on recruiting visits. Would that be a rules violation?

Seriously, I like the guy at VCU and is there any chance a) we could get Tubby back and b) he would want to come back?

Anonymous said...

It would be amazing, but Knight just isn't going to happen.

I agree that there has to be someone energetic and fresh to put people in the seats.

This is a perfect time to come in with the practice facility and renovations to begin in the off season.

I vote Lon Kruger.

Stan said...

Mike Anderson from Missouri. Mal Moore is too stupid to hire him. He was the first coach since Bartow to find UAB's pulse. They've gone right back in the can since they hire Mike Davis. And he had a pedigree.

Anonymous said...

Why do you people keep bringing up the name Bobby Knight? He would be here 2 or 3 years, then we'd be right back where we are now.

I never got the fascination with him at any point in his career.

Why should anyone respect a blowhard who cannot abide by the very discipline he teaches?

Richard said...

Sam Cassell and his (FAMU-threatening) pencil should be on the short-list. Actually, not. All I know is if we hire the best high-school coach in Georgia or even Gwinnett County, our offense will be better next year than it was this year.

Anonymous said...

Is Tebow available?

Anonymous said...

the fact that sam mitchell made it to being a head coach in the NBA proves that he's good enough to at least coach at the level below (college basketball). Sam Mitchell would be a great hire in terms of a name (for recruiting) and gameplan. Hell if he could coach a good enough gameplan to be coach of the year in the NBA (2007), he could sure coach a good enough gameplan at stegman.

The wicked Coach Felton of the South said...

I'm melting! Ahhh I'm melting!

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