UTC down to final three in search for its next men's basketball coach

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's search for its next men's basketball coach, according to sources, is down to three finalists.

They are University of Alabama assistant John Brannen, Virginia Commonwealth assistant Will Wade and former Georgia coach Dennis Felton, who is now with the San Antonio Spurs' front-office.

The final decision to replace former Mocs coach John Shulman will be made by newly-hired athletics director David Blackburn with the approval of incoming chancellor Steve Angle.

UTC dismissed Shulman on March 20 with one year remaining on his contract -- when officials would not offer an extension -- after going 1m45-146 in nine years with two Southern Conference tournament titles.

The search firm hired by UTC to help, Collegiate Sports Associates, has not attended any interviews, but according to one source, has conducted background searches on the finalists.

Nobody could put a timetable on Blackburn's decision. He said Monday to the Chattanooga Quarterback Club that it could be 48 hours, but more likely in the next seven-10 days -- but not on Saturday when his daughter, Emma, turns 16-years old.

Communication between the finalists and Blackburn has "gone back and forth," according to a source.

Candidates who have been eliminated from the list of finalists, according to sources, include former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, current Miami assistant Eric Konkol and Michigan State assistant Dwayne Stephens.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.