Heath Hires 2 For His Arkansas Staff, Including Ex-Kent Assistant

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - New Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath announced Friday that he hired two staff members, including an assistant coach from Kent State.

Heath, who was hired away from Kent on March 28, selected Oronde Taliaferro, who served his first year as an assistant at Kent State last season.

Heath also hired Rob Flaska, an assistant at TCU for the past four years.

Heath replaced fired coach Nolan Richardson after his first Kent State team went 30-6 and won three games in the recent NCAA tournament. Before that, Heath was an assistant for five years at Michigan State.

Taliaferro (pictured, above) was head coach at Detroit Central High School for five years and his teams put together a 101-25 record.

Heath originally recruited Taliaferro to Albion (Mich.) College, where he was an assistant in 1990 and 1991. Taliaferro played at Albion as a freshman before transferring to Wayne State where he also played for Heath.

"Oronde did a great job with us at Kent State," Heath said. "His coaching and recruiting abilities impacted our team. We share a lot of history together. He's a former player that I coached as well as someone I've watched grow into a terrific coach."

As a player, Taliaferro led Wayne State to three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference titles, three NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances and a combined record of 71-20. He helped the Tarters reach the Final Four in 1993 and set a school record for victories in 1994 (25-5).

Taliaferro played at Detroit Mumford High School for the late Jim Boyce, the former Eastern Michigan University coach who recruited Heath to EMU.

During Flaska's run at TCU, the Horned Frogs were 21-11 in 1999, 18-14 in 2000, 20-10 in 2001, and 16-14 in 2002.

Before going to TCU, he was the head coach for three seasons at Florida Community College in Jacksonville, Fla., with records of 18-14 in 1996, 23-10 in 1997 and 23-7 in 1998. His teams were nationally ranked in 1997 and 1998 and he had 10 players sign scholarships with Division I schools.

"His experience as a head coach and his junior college background along with his ties in Texas and his background in Michigan will certainly be an asset to our program," Heath said.

Flaska went to high school in Maple City, Mich., and played at Michigan Tech where he set school career records for steals and assists. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Indiana State in 1983 and 1984.

Heath may wait until the recruiting period ends April 30 before filling the other opening on his staff.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)