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UC Irvine hires NBA assistant Russell Turner as head basketball coach

April 9, 2010 | 12:44 pm

UC Irvine announced Friday that Russell Turner, an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, has been hired as the Anteaters basketball coach.

Turner, 39, replaces Pat Douglass, who was fired last month after compiling a 197-191 record in 13 seasons with the Anteaters.

Turner has been a Warriors assistant for six seasons. He played at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and coached as an assistant at his alma mater before moving to Wake Forest and then Stanford.

“Russell’s body of work makes him a superb choice for our program,” Irvine Athletic Director Mike Izzi said in a statement. “He has worked in successful programs, gaining valuable knowledge from hall of fame caliber coaches, and has thrived in academic settings.

“He has had the opportunity to help develop some of the NBA’s top players and work closely with many outstanding collegiate competitors. Our players will benefit greatly from his experience."

The university said Turner agreed to a five-year contract with an annual base salary of $205,000.

“I am honored and extremely excited to be chosen to lead the men’s basketball program at UCI,” Turner said in a statement. “In many ways this is a dream job for me because of the culture of excellence within this University. I am eager to get to work with my team and to earn the respect of the Irvine community and I will approach all of the important aspects of this job with great enthusiasm. I have tremendous respect for the coach I am following, Pat Douglass, and I am hoping to form strong relationships with the many impressive people who are a part of this program’s past as we build for the future of our team.”

Irvine finished 14-18 last season, losing to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the first round of the Big West tournament.

-- Gary Klein