Oklahoma hires Barnes, Betts as assistant coaches

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel hired former Mississippi coach Rod Barnes and former South Carolina State coach Ben Betts on Tuesday to give the Sooners a full complement of three assistants.

Barnes, 40, was 141-109 in eight seasons at Mississippi and took the Rebels to the NCAA tournament three of his first four seasons at his alma mater. He was fired in March as Ole Miss neared the end of its fourth consecutive losing season.

"I've always had a lot of respect for Coach Barnes," Capel said in a statement. "When I was at VCU I had the opportunity to coach against him and his teams were always very good defensively. They got after you, they were tough, they were disciplined and they played with passion. I respected the way his teams played. I feel like this is a great hire for OU."

Betts was 51-39 at South Carolina State and led the Bulldogs to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title in 2004. He has also been an assistant at College of Charleston and South Carolina State.

Betts, 37, was an assistant for Capel for one season at Virginia Commonwealth and had been the head coach at South Carolina State for the past three seasons.

"Ben is incredibly passionate about the game of basketball and about teaching it," Capel said. "He's a very good recruiter, partly because he communicates so well. The knowledge and the energy he'll bring to our program will be incredibly beneficial. Also, because of the type of man he is, players here will enjoy being around him. They will learn a lot about life from him."

Capel earlier brought assistant Mark Cline with him from Virginia Commonwealth and hired Bucknell assistant Bryan Goodman as his director of basketball operations.