All not lost in Felton’s departure

There’s no sense in berating men’s basketball head coach Dennis Felton for bolting to the University of Georgia. Especially after the Bulldogs laid out 700,000 bones for his services.

Felton is chasing his dream to coach big time college basketball. He’ll do it in one of Division I’s power conferences, in one of the nation’s finest Southern college towns, at a scandal-ridden school whose supporters and administrators will grant Felton a lengthy grace period to lead Georgia back into the Top 25.

Toss in a 75 percent pay raise, and Felton had a deal no young coach could reject.

In a way, Western now offers an equally attractive package. Felton’s five-year rebuilding effort thrust Western hoops into the national spotlight. Young coaches see a tradition-rich program that pays well, goes to the NCAA Tournament and has a history of placing coaches at higher profile schools.

And thanks to a brilliant clause in Felton’s contract with Western, the Hilltoppers are guaranteed that which all of the so-called mid-major programs covet: a home-and-home series against a member of a power conference.

While at Western, Felton lamented the difficulty in scheduling games against upper-level programs. He had to leave to do it, but he finally pulled it off. Western will battle Georgia, of the Southeastern Conference, at least four times in a series that must begin within two seasons.

Whoever replaces Felton will take over a program teeming with the potential for sustained success. Not to diminish Felton’s efforts on the Hill, but the new coach’s fresh leadership could guide the Hilltoppers to even greater heights.

In the meantime, congratulations and good luck to Coach Felton. We’ll be anxiously awaiting your return to Diddle Arena, Bulldogs in tow.

But don’t forget those victories over Kentucky and Auburn during your days at Western.

We’ve done pretty well lately against the big, bad SEC.

There’s no reason we can’t add Georgia to that list.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.