Samford head basketball coach Scott Padgett announced the addition of 30-year coaching veteran and previous head coach at Tulane University, Shawn Finney, to his staff as associate head coach, it was officially released Tuesday.
“Shawn is going to bring a lot of experience to the staff,” said Padgett. “Without a doubt, he is going to be the most experienced guy on the staff. He brings over 30 years of experience in college coaching and is a former Division I head coach. He brings both a wealth of knowledge of the game, but also tons of connections over the years in recruiting.”
Finney, who most recently spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Manhattan College, has also played a key role on the coaching staffs at UCF, Marshall, Tulane, Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa.
He will be involved in all aspects of the Samford basketball program including but not limited to game preparation, recruiting and scouting.
Finney has been associated with the Division I ranks for 27 seasons, advancing to the NCAA Tournament eight times, while coaching 15 future NBA players. He spent five years as the head coach at Tulane, most recently served as an assistant coach at Manhattan for two seasons under Steve Masiello, who he coach at Kentucky.
“He’s been around a lot of great coaches, including J.D. Barnett, Tubby Smith and Donnie Jones, so he’s learned a lot over the years and brings new ideas and new ways of thinking to our staff,” Padgett said. “Him bringing in outside influences and outside perspectives will definitely help our assistants, but will also help me as the head coach as well.”
Samford’s Padgett was also a player on the NCAA champion Wildcat team that was coached by Smith and assisted by Finney.
Before moving to Manhattan, Finney spent six seasons as an assistant coach at UCF for six seasons from 2010-16. During his time in Orlando, he helped the Knights to a pair of postseason appearances and three 20-win seasons.
“I obviously feel extremely comfortable having Shawn on staff,” Padgett said. “He was my coach at Kentucky and we had a very good relationship there. We both came down here from Manhattan where we spent time under my old boss Steve Masiello and we’ve always kept up with each other over the years.”
Prior to his time at UCF, Finney was a member of the staff at Marshall for three seasons where he helped mentor current Miami Heat standout Hassan Whiteside.
Finney also spent one year as the Director of Basketball Operations in 2006-07 at Kentucky where he worked alongside future NBA players Randolph Morris, Jodie Meeks and Joe Crawford while helping the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament.
At Tulane, Finney was the head coach for five seasons from 2000-05 while helping Linton Johnson blossom into a NBA player. Under his guidance, every student-athlete that was recruited or played during his tenure with the Green Wave graduated.
Previous to that appointment, he served as an assistant coach alongside Smith for nine seasons at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky.
Finney helped the Wildcats to an 86-23 record and three trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1997-2000, highlighted by winning the 1998 National Championship. He also was instrumental in the development of eight future NBA players, including Padgett, Keith Bogans, Michael Bradley, Jamaal Magloire, Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, Jeff Sheppard and Wayne Turner.
“Shawn will also help us a lot on the defensive end of the court,” said Padgett. “He’s been the defensive coach at a number of the places that he’s been and has had success at those places, so I think he’ll help us a lot on the defensive end. He’ll also help us tremendously in recruiting in both Georgia and Florida, and those are two huge states that we’ve been working on as of late.”
During his two seasons at Georgia, Finney helped develop Shandon Anderson into a NBA player while the Bulldogs went 45-19 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament each season, highlighted by a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1996. At Tulsa, he worked with future NBA Player Shea Seals while the Golden Hurricanes advanced to the Sweet 16 in both 1994 and 1995.
Finney began his coaching career at Garrett CC, Pikeville and Randolph-Macon before ascending to the Division I ranks for the 1990-91 campaign. A West Virginia native, he played collegiately at Fairmont State and graduated in 1985.