LEWISTON, NY – By now, most of us have had more than enough time to digest the latest coaching hire in the Big 4.
Niagara University took a major step in the right direction, hiring Patrick Beilein as their 22nd head coach in program history.
It’s a home run hire for the school for many reasons.
First, it shows they’re no longer content with losing.
The last six years have been difficult for the Purple Eagles under Chris Casey. The only constant was losing and plenty of it at that.
That should change, sooner rather than later.
Why do I believe that’ll be the case?
- Beilein comes from a coaching family, most notably his father who is Michigan head coach John Beilein.
- He’s won at the Division II level at West Virginia Wesleyan and Le Moyne.
- Beilein was a very successful D1 athlete himself.
- He has WNY ties, having grown up in the region while his dad was coaching at Le Moyne and Canisius.
- Beilein has been groomed to be a college head coach. It’s in his blood and he’s ready for his next challenge.
Niagara has taken a chance on a young coach with a big name who’s hungry for success.
There’s not many coaching prospects that fit that description and even less that are willing to take a job at a MAAC program but Beilein is one of them.
“My family and I are very excited to have this opportunity to be the next men’s basketball head coach at Niagara University and to be back in Niagara County and Western New York,” said Beilein.
The Purple Eagles have gone through their share of struggles but this hire indicates that they want the program to take a step forward.
“Patrick will elevate our entire institution by developing his program at a championship level,” said Niagara Director of Athletics Simon Gray.
Beilein is eager to get started, as he looks to turnaround a school that has gone 64-129 the past six seasons under Chris Casey.
“I am excited to meet the team, hire a staff, begin workouts, and hit the road recruiting,” said Beilein.
He’s following a path similar to his father, starting in the lower ranks of college basketball, building up coaching experience before moving up to the lower levels of Division I.
Beilein spent the past four years at Le Moyne, going 77-41, making the NCAA Tournament three times, advancing as far as the Elite Eight.
Prior to his gig with the Dolphins, he spent a year serving as an assistant for the Utah Jazz in the NBA.
He’s been all over the basketball world, playing at West Virginia, serving as a grad assistant at Michigan, assisting in the pros, coaching in the DII ranks and now beginning his first Division I coaching job with the Purple Eagles.
That’s not your typical resume for a Niagara head coach.
It’s well beyond the norm and the university should be grateful that Beilein was willing to come on board.
His father John grew up as a Purple Eagles fan before coaching at ECC, Nazareth, Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan.
He had a tremendous run with the Golden Griffins, leading them to their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 1996 and twice guiding them to the NIT, reaching the NIT Final Four in 1995.
Niagara fans are hoping Patrick can guide their program through a similar renaissance in the upcoming years.
It won’t be easy but there’s no better man for the job than an up-and-coming Beilein.
“I once stood on that court… and thought this is the best gym I’ve ever seen in my life… For him now to get that job it’s really special.”
— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) March 29, 2019