Georgia men’s basketball team hires new operations coordinator

Byron Samuels, a veteran of the collegiate ranks whose career includes three head coaching posts, has been named the Georgia men’s basketball team’s operations coordinator, according to an announcement Thursday by head coach Mark Fox.

Samuels replaces the Bulldogs’ previous operations coordinator, Jonas Hayes, who was promoted on Monday to an assistant coach position.

“Byron is a man of great character who brings a wealth of experience to our staff,” Fox said in a news release. “As a former head coach and a former assistant in the SEC, he will be a great addition as the coordinator of basketball operations.”

For Samuels, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Georgia represents the 10th school in a coaching career that has spanned the past 25 years. He earned his B.S. degree in Personnel Management from UNC-Asheville in 1986 and his master’s in Education from Western Carolina four years later.

Samuels’ first head coaching job came at Hampton University. During his two-year stint (1995-97), he helped the Pirates with their transition to NCAA Division I status. His teams broke 14 team and individual records, and both of his recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Samuels left Hampton in 1997 to join his college coach, Jerry Green, as an assistant on Green’s staff at Tennessee. In each of their four years at UT, the Vols earned NCAA Tournament berths, highlighted by an SEC co-championship and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000.

“I’m really excited to be working with and for Coach Fox and his program,” Samuels said in a news release. “There were a lot of things that appealed to me about the opportunity at Georgia. First, I’ve always had special feelings for Athens and the University ever since my first visit there in 1995. Second, I can tell that everyone in the program, from top to bottom, cares about the right things and about doing things the right way. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Samuels was the head coach at Radford University from 2003-07 after serving one season there as an assistant coach. His tenure with the Highlanders included an appearance in the league’s tournament championship game and several player and team accolades, both on the court and in the classroom.

Most recently, Samuels was an assistant at South Florida for two seasons (2007-09) and the head coach at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa (2010-12). In the latter position, he coached recent Bulldog center John Florveus.

Samuels’ coaching career also includes assistant stops at Washington State (1994-95) and UNC-Wilmington (1990-91 and again in 1992-94), as well as graduate assistant posts at Tulsa (1990) and Western Carolina (1989).

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