Shawn Finney Named Tulane Men's Basketball Coach

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM New head basketball coach Shawn Finney meets the media at Wednesday's press conference.
New head basketball coach Shawn Finney meets the media at Wednesday's press conference.

July 19, 2000

Press Conference Video Highlights

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University Director of Athletics Rick Dickson introduced Shawn Finney as the new head men's basketball coach at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Finney, 37, becomes the 21st head coach in the 90-season history of Tulane basketball. He signed a five-year contract. No other contract terms were released.

"I am extremely pleased to announce the hiring of Shawn Finney as our head basketball coach," said Dickson. "I believe Shawn possesses all of the traits, characteristics and qualities that we value here at Tulane. He will bring a strong commitment to succeed both in the classroom and on the court with the young men he recruits."

Finney comes to Tulane after serving as an assistant coach for Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky for three seasons. In that span, he helped the Wildcats to a cumulative 86-23 (.789) record, the 1998 National Championship and a berth in the NCAA Regional Finals. Last season, Kentucky posted a 23-10 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"It is an honor to be named the head men's basketball coach at Tulane University," said Finney. "I appreciate Mr. Dickson and President Cowen for giving me the opportunity to lead this program. It is an exciting time to be associated with Tulane University."

While at Kentucky, Finney assisted with on-floor coaching duties as well as off-campus recruiting. He served as an assistant coach for Smith in each of the past eight seasons at Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa, and has made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in that span.

He was a member of the Tulsa staff that guided the Golden Hurricane to consecutive Sweet 16 berths prior to Smith's departure to Georgia. Finney served as a part-time assistant coach for three seasons at Tulsa before being promoted to a full-time assistant during the 1994-95 season.

He held the same position at the University of Georgia in 1996 and 1997. Finney was instrumental in the Bulldogs' 1996 NCAA Tournament appearance, the school's first in five years. Georgia made another NCAA appearance in 1997 and posted the first back-to-back 20 win seasons in school history.

"I've watched Shawn grow and develop over the last 10 years at three outstanding programs to become the premier assistant at the premier program in the country," said Dickson. "I believe he'll be a huge success for Tulane University."

A native of Mullens, W.Va., Finney started his coaching career as an assistant at Garrett (Md.) Community College in 1985-86 and served as an assistant at Pikeville (Ky.) College during the 1986-87 campaign. In that season, he helped the Bears to a 21-10 record.

Over the next three seasons he worked as an assistant coach at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., before moving to Tulsa in 1990 under J.D. Barnett. After Barnett left Tulsa, Finney was retained as a member of Tubby Smith's first coaching staff and worked with then-Tulsa Athletic Director Rick Dickson.

As a player, Finney played two seasons at Garret Community College before finishing his basketball career as a starting guard in his senior season at Fairmont State. He graduated from Fairmont State in 1985 with a degree in business administration. He earned his master's in sports management from Tulsa in 1992.

Finney inherits a Tulane program that went 20-11 last season, won Conference USA's National Division and advanced to the first round of the NIT. He succeeds Perry Clark, who resigned after 11 seasons to take the head coaching position at the University of Miami.

Finney Quick Facts

Full Name: David Shawn Finney
Birthdate: Sept. 20, 1962
Marital Status: Single
Hometown: Mullens, W.Va.
High School: Mullens
College: Fairmont State, B.S. (business administration) 1985
Post-Graduate: Tulsa, Master's in sports management, 1992

Coaching Experience
NCAA Division I

1999-2000AssistantKentucky23-10NCAA (2nd Round)
1998-99AssistantKentucky28-9NCAA (Regional Finals)
1997-98AssistantKentucky35-4NCAA (National Champions)
1996-97AssistantGeorgia24-9NCAA (1st Round)
1995-96AssistantGeorgia21-10NCAA (Sweet 16)
1994-95AssistantTulsa24-8NCAA (Sweet 16)
1993-94AssistantTulsa23-8NCAA (Sweet 16)
1987-90AssistantRandolph-Macon (Va.) College
1986-87AssistantPikeville (Ky.) College
1985-86AssistantGarrett (Md.) Community College

What they're saying about Shawn Finney

Orlando "Tubby" Smith
University of Kentucky Head Basketball Coach

"Shawn has been with me since day one of my head coaching career. He's been the glue to the success I've experienced at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky. I'm excited that he's getting this opportunity to lead his own program at Tulane. He's one of the rising stars who has prepared for this day by coming up through the ranks, paying his dues -- first as a graduate assistant, then as an administrative assistant on to becoming an outstanding recruiter. His youthful presence and his ability to communicate will allow him to recruit and coach the top talent and be successful in Conference USA. No one is more deserving and capable to lead Tulane back to the top of its league.

"Tulane fans can look for an exciting style of play with a well-rounded philosophy. Expect him to play an up-tempo style of basketball highlighted by three-point shooting and pressure defense. Tulane and Rick Dickson have picked the right person to give vision and direction to the Green Wave program."

C.M. Newton
Recently Retired UK Athletics Director

"I'm very excited for Tulane University and Shawn Finney. It's a great fit. For Tulane, the program gets a top-flight young coach who will not only excel on the basketball court but who understands the academic mission of Tulane. For Coach Finney, he gets the opportunity to coach a quality program that can compete at the highest level. I'm just thrilled for both Tulane University, Rick Dickson and Shawn Finney."

Dick Vitale
National Basketball Analyst

"Shawn will bring a lot of excitement and youthful enthusiasm to the Tulane basketball program. I've observed him both on the sidelines and on the recruiting trail and he understands the game and will make a great recruiter for the Green Wave. Working with Tubby Smith -- who I think is one of the top coaches in America today -- has been a tremendous experience for Shawn, an experience that's prepared him to go out on his own and make his mark as a successful head coach."

Larry Ivy
UK Athletics Director

"We're very excited for Shawn. It's a great opportunity for him to go to Tulane University as head coach of a program rich in academic history as well as athletic tradition. He's been a real asset to our program, and like a number of former assistants at Kentucky, we expect Shawn to make the next step and become a highly successful head coach. In making their selection, Tulane is getting a coach who will play exciting basketball and who has a total understanding of the rules and regulations governing college basketball. We wish him nothing but the best."

Perry Clark
University of Miami Head Basketball Coach

"Tulane has had great success in bringing in talented assistants from great programs. I think Shawn fits that mold and will continue that tradition."

Billy Donovan
University of Florida Head Coach

"Tulane has hired an outstanding coach in Shawn Finney. He is a tremendous recruiter and had an opportunity to work with one of the best coaches in the country in Tubby Smith. There is no question that Shawn will do a great job for Tulane."

Billy Packer
National Basketball Analyst

"I've observed Shawn Finney working in the Kentucky basketball program for the past three years and watched him help and assist Tubby Smith in practice and games. He's learned how to win championships from one of the nation's top basketball coaches and it is that experience with Tubby that gives him the credentials to be an outstanding head coach at Tulane."