Only one winning season since 2013
in the first round of the MAAC Tournament. Niagara was 1319, and finished in a tie for last in the MAAC at 6-12.
Patrick Beilein, 36, led LeMoyne to three Division II NCAA tournaments, and he was 77-41 overall and 55-25 in the Northeast-10 Conference.
He also follows a path his father took in coaching; John Beilein coached at LeMoyne from 1983-84 to 1991-92, until he became head coach at Canisius. John Beilein was 8962 in five seasons at Canisius, and took the Golden Griffins to the 1996 NCAA Tournament and to the NIT in 1994 and 1995.
Patrick Beilein said he will be on campus early next week, to meet with players and to start assembling his staff.
The challenge for Beilein at Niagara will be taking over a program that has struggled in recent years. The Purple Eagles have only one winning season since 2013, and have finished no higher than third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in that span.
“I look at this as a way for me to get better as a coach,” he said. “We will immediately change the culture, offensively, defensively and off the court. That will be a challenge in itself, to do that. It will take time. But I have no doubt that the guys who want to be there and who will do that, they will be around. They’ll see wins come from that.”
A 2006 graduate of West Virginia and a former guard for the Mountaineers, Beilein spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Michigan from 2008 to 2010, was an assistant at Dartmouth in 20102011, and was the director of basketball operations at Bradley University in 2011-2012. He coached at West Virginia Wesleyan College from 2012 to 2014, was an assistant with the Utah Jazz of the NBA during the 2014-15 season and became Le Moyne’s coach in June of 2015.
Niagara Athletic Director Simon Gray said Beilein was at the top of the athletic department’s list of potential candidates for the opening.
“I’ve known about Patrick through the years, and I’ve followed the trajectory of his career, and I thought he would make a good fit,” Gray said. “He’s won as a head coach, and we believe he can translate it to the MAAC.”
Gray was the director of athletics public relations at Richmond from 2001 to 2005, which overlapped with John Beilein’s final season at Richmond in 2001-2002.
Gray said he believed in the quality of the Beilein family as coaches and as individuals, and the emphasis the Beileins place on building within the college community and the local community.
What impressed Gray about Patrick Beilein was ability to be an innovative coach.
“His teams, you can tell, have been successful,” Gray said. “He knows how to win, offensively, and defensively. He does a lot of his father’s things but has his own angles, and he coaches teams who win and peak in the right time.
“The goal will be to win the MAAC championship, and that will come. What we need to do is stabilize the program, first.”