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Archive for Friday, April 28, 2006

Walters lands Florida Atlantic job

Former Kansas University standout will replace ex-KU assistant Doherty as FAU’s head coach

April 28, 2006

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— Former Kansas University basketball guard Rex Walters has his first head-coaching job.

Walters, 36, will replace Matt Doherty as Florida Atlantic University's coach and be introduced at a news conference today on FAU's campus.

"Coach Walters got the job," junior guard DeAndre Rice told the Palm Beach Post. "They told us, and everybody is excited."

Doherty, a former head coach at North Carolina and Notre Dame and assistant at Kansas, accepted the coaching job at SMU on Monday after one season at FAU, and he was saving a spot on his staff for Walters if his former assistant didn't become the Owls coach.

FAU athletic director Craig Angelos would not confirm Walters' hiring to the Post, only to say a news conference was scheduled.

"I talked to him and a lot of other coaches, but he certainly brings a lot to the table," Angelos said.

Walters would not comment about the position but he was happy about his meeting with Angelos.

"We have talked at length about FAU basketball, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed telling him what my vision of this program is," Walters told the Post.

Walters' hiring will be welcome to the players. Walters was instrumental in bringing in a class of five last year, six new players joining the program next season.

"It keeps the chemistry," Rice said. "Everybody will be coming back and is on the same page. It's good. Hopefully, he'll be around for a while."

Walters, who was endorsed by the majority of returning players, was offered the job shortly after his interview, sources told the Post.

Walters, 36, was Doherty's first hire when Doherty became the Owls' coach in April 2005, and he was a key recruiter of FAU's best class of signees in program history.

Before coming to FAU, Walters spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Valparaiso University under Homer Drew.

As a player, Walters led KU to a two-year mark of 56-12 and a pair of Big Eight championships. He was the No. 16 overall selection in the 1993 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. He played his first two seasons with the Nets before going to Philadelphia, where he played two seasons under Larry Brown. He finished his NBA career with three seasons under Pat Riley with the Miami Heat. Walters, who has no head-coaching experience, was a finalist for the coaching job at Morehead State this month.

Walters will be the sixth coach in program history. Since moving to Division I, FAU has only had three winning seasons, including last season's 15-13 mark.

Walters loves the potential of his FAU team.

"We've come a long way in such a short period of time," he said. "I feel like I'm the person to get the job done. That's why I stayed. SMU is a heckuva deal. But I think we have something special here. All my life I've been waiting for a head coaching position. As a young kid I wanted to build a program and lead young men."

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