Jim Baron, a winner of 390 career games that includes eight 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament berths and 11 postseason appearances, has been named the 23rd head coach in Canisius College men's basketball history, Canisius College Director of Athletics Bill Maher announced today.
Baron, who signed a five-year contract, will be formally introduced at a 3 p.m. press conference in the Koessler Athletic Center on Tuesday, April 3.
"I am extremely pleased to introduce Jim Baron as our men's basketball coach," Maher said. "In naming Jim to this position, we have hired a man who has a proven track record of building successful basketball programs and developing young men. He is excited to return to Western New York to lead the Canisius College basketball program.
"Jim comes to us as a highly respected coach, having led three different institutions to postseason success. Our goal is to win the MAAC Championship, and I look forward to working with Jim to accomplish this goal at Canisius College."
A head coach at the Division I level for the past 25 seasons and a four-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (1995 at St. Bonaventure, 2003, 2007 and 2009 at Rhode Island), Baron returns to Western New York after spending the previous 11 years at the University of Rhode Island where he won 184 games, made six postseason appearances (all 20-win seasons) and enjoyed a four-week appearance in the national rankings during the 2007-08 season. He improved the Rams' win total in six-straight seasons, from six wins in 2004-05 to 26 victories in 2009-10, and he helped guide the Rhode Island program to the 2010 NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden, the team's first appearance in the NIT semifinal round since 1946.
"This is a great day for Canisius College basketball," Canisius College president John J. Hurley said. "Jim Baron has demonstrated throughout his career that it is possible to match success on the court with success in the classroom. He has been a positive influence in the lives of hundreds of young men, and I'm tremendously excited about the prospect of working with Jim to restore Golden Griffin basketball to glory."
A 1977 graduate of St. Bonaventure University and 2009 inductee into the St. Bonaventure Athletics Hall of Fame, Baron spent nine seasons as head coach at his alma mater (1992-2001). Prior to his return to Olean, N.Y., the Bonnies had won 22 combined games during the previous three seasons. In his third year at the helm, he guided the team to an 18-13 record and a trip to the 1995 NIT. In his final two seasons, Baron led the Bonnies to a 39-22 mark, including the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 22 years, where St. Bonaventure fell to heavily favored Kentucky by a score of 85-80 in double overtime in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
Baron's first head coaching experience came at St. Francis University (Pa.) in Loretto, Pa., where he led the Red Flash to the 1991 NCAA Tournament. That year, the team posted a 24-8 overall record and a 13-3 mark in the Northeast Conference, which resulted in the program's only NEC Tournament title and appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Before becoming a head coach, Baron was an assistant coach at four institutions - the University of Notre Dame (1981-87), St. Bonaventure (1980-81), Loyola University (Md.) (1979-80) and the University of Rochester (1978-79). He got his start in coaching at Aquinas High School in Rochester, N.Y. During his four years as a student-athlete at St. Bonaventure, the Bonnies were 72-38 and as a senior, Baron served as a co-captain when the Bonnies went 24-6 and won the 1977 NIT Championship.
Baron and his wife Cindy have two sons, Jimmy - a former standout guard for Rhode Island who graduated from the school in 2009 - and Billy, who is currently enrolled at Rhode Island and is a rising junior on the men's basketball team.
Baron was selected after a nationwide search and will take over the post immediately. He replaces Tom Parrotta, who was not retained after six seasons as head coach of the Golden Griffins.Canisius returns all five starters and 11 letterwinners to go along with three incoming transfers who will be eligible for the 2012-13 season.