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Mastodons add assistants

– Less than two months into his new gig, you can’t say IPFW men’s basketball coach Jon Coffman isn’t laying some groundwork.

First there was the hiring of a couple of new assistant coaches. Then there was all that literal groundwork. Eight or so hours of it.

That’s how long it took Coffman and his players Monday to lay down a practice floor with an interesting pedigree: It’s the Madison Square Garden floor used in the NCAA East Regional in March.

The floor was installed in the Gates Center fieldhouse, where Coffman will conduct offseason workouts while a new floor goes down in the gym over the summer.

The new faces, meanwhile, are veteran Division I coach Ben Betts, who’ll be Coffman’s top assistant, and Ben Botts – not actually a new face, since he’s one of the most accomplished players in IPFW history.

As with Coffman, Betts has been around. Two decades ago, he went 52-41 in four seasons as head coach at South Carolina State, and he’s also been an assistant at College of Charleston (where he was on John Kresse’s staff at the same time as Coffman), VCU, Tennessee State and, most recently, Oklahoma.

“A tremendous coup,” Coffman said of the Betts hire. “At our level to get a coach who’s coached at the College of Charleston, associate head coach at Tennessee State, and then to get former Division I head coach; … it’s great for our program.”

Botts, meanwhile, left IPFW as the fifth-leading scorer in school history.

He comes back to IPFW from Princeton, where he spent last season as the school’s director of basketball operations.

“A representation of everything that’s great about IPFW,” Coffman said.