Men’s basketball coach Stan Heath drew closer to completing his staff after he announced the hiring of assistant coach Reggie Hanson and director of basketball operations Darren Sorenson.
The duo brings nearly 30 years of basketball experience to the Bulls’ coaching staff.
Hanson is the first hire by Heath without any ties to Arkansas, joining the Bulls after spending the past seven seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky.
During his time in Lexington, Hanson helped the Wildcats to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen four times and the Elite Eight twice.
“Reggie has already built a reputation as a very strong recruiter,” Heath said in a press release. “He has worked for and played under some of the top coaches in the business and brings a wealth of experience as both a player and a coach to the program.”
Hanson is expected to be one of USF’s top recruiters.
He played four seasons at Kentucky, was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Team as a junior and senior, and was once named the Wildcats’ Most Valuable Player. After college, Hanson embarked on a professional playing career, joining the Boston Celtics during the 1997-98 season and playing for seven years in the Japanese Basketball League.
While in Japan, Hanson was both player and coach, and led the league in scoring twice (1995 and 1996). He was also named the Defensive Player of the Year once.Hanson accepted the position five weeks ago but had to wait until Friday when his contract ran out with Kentucky to be officially introduced.
Sorenson is the second member of the Bulls’ basketball program to follow Heath from Arkansas, joining assistant coach Dan Hipsher. Sorenson spent the previous five seasons scouting, video coordinating, running a summer camp program and budgeting.
Prior to Arkansas, Sorenson worked as an administrative assistant at UCLA, director of operations at Georgia State and Jacksonville State and served as an assistant coach at Mount Senario College. In 2001, Sorenson was the head coach of the Qatar Junior National Team and an assistant on the undefeated National Team. Under Sorenson’s guidance, Qatar claimed its first Gulf Coast Countries Tournament championship.
“Darren is a good all-around coach who will oversee a number of areas, including travel and summer camps,” Heath said. “He is a hard worker and will be a valuable asset to the program.”
Heath has a history of finding accomplished assistants, as the other two members of Heath’s coaching staff at Arkansas have found jobs elsewhere. Glynn Cyprien joined Reggie Theus at New Mexico State as an associate head coach while Oronde Taliaferro was hired by Oklahoma.
Taliaferro was listed by Rivals.com as one of the Top 25 recruiters in the nation. Two years ago, Ronny Thompson – son of legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson – served as an assistant for Heath at Arkansas. Following the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Ball State selected Thompson as its head coach.
There still remains one vacant coaching position Heath has to fill, and while he has been focusing on finding one more scholarship player for the team, hiring the most qualified candidate remains a priority.
“The staff is so important,” Heath said to the Oracle last month. “You want to find guys who can bring good things to the program and assist in different ways … you have to have guys who can multitask and find guys that have different strengths and put it all together.”