Only one win­ning sea­son since 2013

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

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.”

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