Three finalists emerge in ETSU coaching search

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY--Three finalists have been named in the search to replace Ed DeChellis as East Tennessee State's head basketball coach.
   Georgia Tech assistant Dean Keener, former UAB head coach Murry Bartow and Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker all interviewed this week for the position.
   A decision could be made as early as Monday.
   Kenner has 15 years of experience as an assistant coach at the Division I level. The last three of those have been with the Yellow Jackets, where he has recruited the past two ACC Rookie-of-the-Year winners.
   Kenner has also served on staffs at Virginia Tech, SMU, the University of Southern California and James Madison.
   During the last three seasons, Kenner has coordinated nationwide recruiting for coach Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech.
   Bartow has the most head coaching experience of the candidates. He guided UAB to a 103-83 record from 1996 through 2002 despite playing in Conference USA and having to go up against Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis and Tulane.
   Bartow is the son of former UCLA and UAB head coach Gene Bartow.
   After being an assistant at Georgia State and Georgia, as well as the head coach at Pensacola (FL) Junior College, Slonaker took over a Mercer program this season that went 6-23 the year before.
   In his first year, Mercer finished an amazing 23-6. It was the biggest one-year turnaround in NCAA history.
   Earlier in the week, ETSU assistant coach Hillary Scott withdrew his name from consideration for the position. Scott has decided to join DeChellis' staff at Penn State.
   Whoever gets this position will be expected to win right away. The Bucs won the Southern Conference Tournament last month, and nearly knocked off Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA tournament.