NORMAN, Okla. Oklahoma men’s basketball head coach Jeff Capel announced the hiring of Oronde Taliaferro (o-RON-day tal-uh-FAIR-o) as an assistant coach Tuesday. Taliaferro fills the spot vacated by former OU assistant Rod Barnes, who was named head coach at Georgia State in March.
The 35-year-old Taliaferro, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach under head coach Stan Heath at Arkansas (five years) and Kent State (one), hails from Detroit, Mich. He was Arkansas’ recruiting coordinator and was labeled by Rivals.com in 2006 as one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation.
The Razorbacks made NCAA Tournament appearances each of the last two years, going 21-14 overall last season and 22-10 in 2005-06. With Taliaferro on Kent State’s 2001-02 staff, the Golden Flashes posted a 30-6 record, won Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.
Said Capel, “As I went through this search I talked to a lot of people about different candidates former college coaches, current college coaches, AAU coaches and people at the grass roots level. The one common name I kept hearing was Oronde Taliaferro.
“Oronde brings recruiting experience in areas such as Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Chicago some are regions we recruit now and some are regions we want to start tapping into. He’s a very good recruiter because of a tireless work ethic and a strong ability to communicate. But he’s also very respected as a coach. So, in Oronde, we’re getting a great recruiter and a great teacher. I’m very excited to welcome him, his wife and his children to the University of Oklahoma family.”
Taliaferro said that, in a way, he actually has been a part of the OU family for years.
“I’m really excited to be here at Oklahoma for several reasons,” he began. “First, Coach Capel is one of the upcoming stars in this business. He and his staff are really nice people and are well-liked across the country. I’m very happy to be working with a bunch of good guys.
“Second, my dad was born in Oklahoma City. I spent several summers coming here for family reunions and the Sooner tradition sunk into my blood a little bit. I grew up liking Billy Sims and the Boz,’ and I was sick in ’88 about losing to Kansas in the national championship game. I’ve always been a Sooner fan and so I’m really happy to be here.”
Prior to his one-year stint at Kent State, Taliaferro spent five seasons as boys’ varsity head coach at Detroit Central High School where his teams posted a combined record of 101-25. During the 1997-98 season, he guided Central to a 23-4 record and the Class A state championship. He was also named Detroit News & Free Press “Dream Team” Coach of the Year.
A two-time Public School League Coach of the Year, he also coached Central to the state semifinals in his first season (1996-97) while the 2000-01 squad went 20-4 for his second 20-win season in five years. One of his stars at Central was Antonio Gates, who set an NFL record for tight ends in 2004 by scoring 13 touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers.
Taliaferro attended Wayne State University (located in Detroit) and led the program to three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference titles, three NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances and a combined record of 71-20. He helped the Tarters reach the Final Four in 1993 and set a school record for victories in 1993-94 (25-5). Taliaferro began his playing career at Albion (Mich.) College, playing as a freshman before transferring to Wayne State.
Taliaferro prepped at Detroit Mumford High School where he was an honorable mention all-city selection as a senior after helping his team reach the city playoffs for the first time in 24 years. He was coached at Mumford by the late Jim Boyce, a former Eastern Michigan University head coach.
Taliaferro and his wife, Kim, are the parents of three daughters (Errin, Kaela and Lynsey).