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NC Central’s LeVelle Moton a target for Georgia State

NC Central celebrates after winning MEAC Championship

NC Central coach LeVelle Moton, his son, and players celebrate in the locker room after the Eagles upset Norfolk State to win the MEAC Tournament Championship and a spot to the NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 16. 2019.
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NC Central coach LeVelle Moton, his son, and players celebrate in the locker room after the Eagles upset Norfolk State to win the MEAC Tournament Championship and a spot to the NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 16. 2019.

After leading his team to a third straight NCAA tournament, N.C. Central coach LeVelle Moton may be moving on from his alma mater.

Moton has emerged as Georgia State’s top target to replace Ron Hunter, who left for Tulane, and there appears to be mutual interest on both sides, according to a source close to the negotiations who spoke under condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak publicly.

NCAANCCentralNDakotaStBasketball.JPG
North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton points during the first half of the team’s First Four game of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament against North Dakota State, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. John Minchillo AP

A former basketball player at N.C. Central, Moton led the Eagles to an 18-16 overall record this year, 10-6 in MEAC play. NC Central went into the MEAC tournament as the No. 3 seed and knocked off No. 2 North Carolina A&T in the semi finals and No. 1 Norfolk State in the title game.

It was the third straight MEAC Tournament title for the Eagles and fourth under Moton, who took over prior to the 2009 season. In eight seasons as a full-time MEAC member, the Eagles have gone to the NCAA tournament four times and the NIT once, going 0-5 but sparking Moton’s candidacy for multiple coaching vacancies each offseason.

Through a spokesperson, N.C. Central athletic director Ingrid Wicker McCree declined to comment.

Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb is familiar with Moton, having worked at N.C. State — his alma mater, where he played football — for seven years before becoming the athletic director at Appalachian State in 2005. He became AD at Georgia State in 2014.

Like N.C. Central, the Panthers are no strangers to the NCAA Tournament. Georgia State has made five appearances, including 2018 and 2019. The Panthers made it to the second round in 2001 and 2015, when Hunter, who had torn his Achilles tendon celebrating Georgia State’s conference tournament win, made national news by falling off his stool when his son R.J. hit the game-winner against Baylor.

North Carolina Central University basketball coach LeVelle Moton talks about growing up outside downtown Raleigh and playing basketball at Lane Street Mini Park.

The Eagles came close to their first tournament win this season before falling to North Dakota State, 78-74, in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

Leading up to that game, Moton was asked what would be a determining factor that would lead to him taking another job.

“It’s not about me,” Moton said. “It’s about my family’s quality of life. I have younger kids. So at the end of the year we go back and assess the situation. And anything to put my kids and my wife in the best situation possible, that’s what I’ve always done. But I’m always grateful that I do have a job because it didn’t have to end up this way as well neither.”

Hunter had a base salary of $460,000 at Georgia State, but left for Tulane when contract negotiations broke down last month over a new contract that would have paid him $525,000.

After leading the Eagles to their first NCAA tournament in 2014, Moton signed an extension that gave him a base salary of $250,000 through 2022.

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.


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