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Frank Haith's Curious Hires

If it's true that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, what does Frank Haith's Tulsa staff say about him?

Frank Haith's new Tulsa staff certainly has a history, and not all of it's good.
Frank Haith's new Tulsa staff certainly has a history, and not all of it's good.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri and Miami coach Frank Haith has filled out his staff at Tulsa, and it's one with ACC connections: former State assistant Tom Abatemarco, former Clemson assistant Dennis Felton and former Virginia coach Dave Leitao.

We've never understood the attraction of Leitao. We remember him as being unpleasant to just about everyone. Even a member of the radio crew, in the end, was offended and alienated.

We remember someone having a superb game for Virginia and Leitao refusing to praise his efforts because Virginia didn't win. It was unnecessary, verging on cruel.

He just came across as humorless and remorseless, sort of a Captain Queeg for the ACC.

We're sure that like everyone else, he has a different side in a more intimate setting. But the impression he left publicly was not gracious, to say the least.

Abatemarco, meanwhile, had an interesting tenure at Drake, where a player rebellion and NCAA issues forced him out.

His assistant, Tom Butler, was found to have written papers for players, to have interfered with the NCAA investigation of Drake, and to have tried to influence a witness.

Abatemarco was cleared in the investigation but was found to have "used language and engaged in conduct which were demeaning to members of the men's basketball team, coaching staff and trainers."

For his part, Felton was fired by Georgia in 2009 - in January.

So in case you're counting, that's two coaches the NCAA wasn't very happy with and two who left programs in ruins.

And if you like, of the four two whose personalities are, to put it mildly, abrasive.

Things should be interesting in Tulsa, very interesting indeed.