Canisius College men's basketball coach Jim Baron announced today that Pat Clarke, Fred Dupree and Mike Mennenga have been hired to the Golden Griffins men's basketball coaching staff.
Clarke was on Baron's staff at St. Bonaventure and at Rhode Island, while Dupree returns to his alma mater after spending the last six years on Bobby Cremins' staff at the College of Charleston. Mennenga comes to Canisius after most recently serving as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago during the 2010-11 season. Last year, he was the co-director of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball program in Toronto and also provided his talents as a color analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet in Buffalo.
"I am very excited and pleased with the staff we have assembled here at Canisius," Baron said. "With these three guys, we have an extremely hard-working group that has 36 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. They all have been a part of building winning programs and each guy wants to get the best out of our student-athletes, both on and off the floor."
Clarke was on Baron's staff at Rhode Island and moved into a full-time bench-coaching role prior to the 2005-06 season after serving as the team's director of basketball operations. In his years on the sidelines at URI, the Rams posted some of the most successful years in the history of the program, totaling more than 100 wins. The Rams advanced to the Atlantic 10 Championship game in 2007 and made three straight trips to the NIT from 2008-10, including a trip to Madison Square Garden as a semifinalist in the 2010 NIT.
A native of Olean, N.Y., Clarke began working with Baron at St. Bonaventure, where he served as the team's director of basketball operations during the 1999-00 season before moving with Baron to Rhode Island. Clarke was responsible for nearly all aspects of the Rams' basketball program, including scheduling, on-the-floor coaching, recruiting, opponent scouting, and game preparation. In 1999, Clarke left his longtime post as coach and athletic director at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean to join Baron's staff at St. Bonaventure. In 2000, the Bonnies earned their first NCAA bid in 22 years and finished with a 21-10 record. St. Bonaventure followed up that success by posting an 18-12 record and earning an NIT invitation in 2001. At Archbishop Walsh, Clarke spent 11 years (1988-99) as athletic director, chair of the physical education department and head coach for baseball, softball, football and boy's basketball programs. His basketball teams went 151-102 (.597), highlighted by an undefeated regular season in 1990, a trip to the New York State Championship in 1991 and a conference title in 1996. Clarke earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from St. Bonaventure in 1992.
Dupree, a member of the Canisius College Class of 1998, returns to Main Street after spending the last 11 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level, most recently at the College of Charleston. With the Cougars, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native was a part of the staff that appeared in three Southern Conference championship games, posted 132 overall victories, four 20-win seasons, a Southern Conference regular-season crown in 2011 and three postseason tournament berths, including a run to the NIT quarterfinal round in 2011. Dupree was also on the staff when former College of Charleston guard Andrew Goudelock became the first Cougar to be drafted into the NBA in more than 14 years when he was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Prior to joining Cremins' staff at Charleston, Dupree was an assistant coach for five years at Rider University, where he helped the Broncs to back-to-back MAAC regular-season championships in 2002 and 2003. He served as Rider's recruiting coordinator during his time in Lawrenceville, N.J., and played a key role in recruiting Jason Thompson, one of the MAAC's all-time great players, who was drafted 12th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2008 NBA Draft. Prior to coaching at Rider, he led the St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn., to the 2000 New England Prep School Championship and helped 17 of his former players go on to play Division I basketball.
As a Griff, Dupree played in 98 career games from 1994-98, and was a member of the team when the Blue and Gold won the 1996 MAAC Championship and played Utah in the first round of the NCAA Tournament under former head coach John Beilein. He served as a team captain during his senior year.
A veteran assistant coach who has made numerous stops at schools across the country, Mennenga returns to the college ranks after serving as Co-Director of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball program and the CIA Bounce Program in Toronto and Buffalo. Prior to being on the Illinois-Chicago coaching staff, the Rantoul, Ill., native spent the 2009-10 year at Providence College under former head coach Keno Davis as the Friars' Director of Player Development. There, he worked to develop and coordinate underclassmen recruiting efforts and organized all campus visits. Mennenga was also in charge of video breakdown of student-athlete's individual practice and game performances.
Before working at Providence, Mennenga was an assistant coach at the Nichols School in Buffalo from 2007-09. At Nichols, he helped lead the Vikings to an amazing mark of 48-6 over two seasons.
Prior to his tenure at the Nichols School, Mennenga was an assistant coach at Iowa State University during the 2005-06 season. From 2000-05 Mennenga filled many roles at the University at Buffalo, including assistant basketball coach, recruiting coordinator and NCAA compliance staffer. During the 2004-05 campaign, the Bulls won 24 games and earned their first postseason berth with an NIT appearance. His recruiting classes from 2003-05 were each ranked first in the Mid-American Conference by Rivals.com. He began his Division I career as an assistant at Maine from 1996-2000. The Black Bears set school records in wins, attendance and all-conference selections during that time period.
Mennenga earned his associate's degree from Vincennes University in 1990 and his bachelor's degree in finance from Morehead State University in 1993, where he was a member of the basketball team.
Baron was officially named the 23rd head coach in Canisius College men's basketball history April 3, 2012. He spent the previous 11 years as the head coach at Rhode Island, and he comes to Canisius with 390 career wins, eight 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 postseason berths in his 25 years as a Division I head coach.