HUNTINGTON - Marshall head men's basketball coach Donnie Jones has announced the hiring of two West Virginia natives, Shawn Finney and Brett Nelson, to his basketball staff.
Finney, the head coach at Tulane from 2000-2005 and most recently a member of Tubby Smith's staff at the University of Kentucky this past season, is a Mullins, W.Va., native, and Nelson, a former recruit and player at the University of Florida under Jones, is from St. Albans, W.Va.
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."
"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."
Nelson, a graduate of St. Albans High School, ended his prep career as the all-time leading career scorer in state history (three years) 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 3-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 assistant Anthony Grant's staff at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006-07.
"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."