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Cleveland State fires head coach Dennis Felton and staff amid wave of transfers

The 56-year-old coach is out after two losing seasons

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 30 Detroit at Cleveland State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cleveland State has fired head coach Dennis Felton, the university announced Friday afternoon.

Felton lasted just two forgettable seasons with the Vikings, going 22-44 overall and 11-25 in the Horizon League.

“We take our mission to provide CSU student-athletes with a transformational experience very seriously,” Cleveland State Athletic Director Scott Garrett said in a statement. “Our coaches operate with the expectation that they should build a culture supportive of our student-athletes in the classroom, accountable for their conduct as representatives of the University, and for their performance on the court. We will seek a new leader for our program who can deliver on this commitment.”

Assistants Lou Dawkins, Bryan Tibaldi and Sam Ferry were also shown the door. Cleveland State men’s basketball radio and television analyst Patrick Vuyancih, a former player and local basketball coach, will serve as a special assistant to Garrett until a permanent coach is hired.

Felton’s dismissal is the latest development in an offseason of turmoil in Cleveland. At least five players have entered the transfer portal, including leading scorer Tyree Appleby, who will decide between Texas A&M and Florida.

Point guard Rashad Williams has already announced his commitment to Oakland, and Aleksa Popovic is heading to D-II McKendree. Forwards Seth Millner and Jaalam Hill are also considering transfer options.

Garrett was just hired in April, so there was no pre-established relationship between the AD and coach to help Felton’s case. Garrett was previously the Executive Associate Athletic Director at Kansas State.

Cleveland State failed to qualify for the Horizon League tournament after a 10-21 campaign this season. The Vikings nearly made the Big Dance with a Cinderella run through the 2018 conference tournament, but that bid was thwarted in a 74-57 championship loss to Wright State.

Felton was the head coach at Western Kentucky (1998-2003) and Georgia (2003-09) before taking the Cleveland State job in March 2017.