Canisius College head men’s basketball coach Jim Baron was one of six Division I head coaches to be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame when the Class of 2013 was officially recognized June 22, at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Baron’s oldest son Jimmy, who played collegiately at the University of Rhode Island from 2006-09, was also honored as part of the 2013 induction class.
Jim Baron was honored for his 11-year career as the University of Rhode Island head coach. During that time, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native led the Rams to 184 wins, six postseason appearances (all 20-win campaigns) and a four-week stint in the national rankings during the 2007-08 season. In 2009-10, Baron’s Rhode Island team won 26 games and made a trip to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden, the program’s first NIT semifinal appearance since 1946.
The other coaches that were inducted June 22 along with Baron were Kentucky head coach John Calipari (for his time at UMass), former Holy Cross head coach Jack Donahue, Drexel head coach Brusier Flint (for his time at UMass), former Maine head coach Brian McCall and former Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard, who is now an assistant coach at Louisville.
The New England Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2002. Other classes have been inducted in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009. There are 30 categories for players, coaches and teams in each class. Awards are given to inductees in 12 special categories such as: administrator, contributor, media, military, the hearing impaired, disabled and Special Olympics Basketball.
In his 26-year career, Baron has complied a total of 409 wins, and he’s led 12 teams to the postseason, including the 2012-13 Canisius team, which went 20-14 overall and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The 2012-13 season was Baron’s first at Canisius, where he helped guide the Golden Griffins to their first 20-win season since 2000-01, and the team’s 15-game win differential between 2011-12 and 2012-13 was the third largest single-season turnaround at the Division I level.
Baron, a four-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honoree, was named the 23rd head coach in school history April 2, 2012. He is the only coach in program history to win 20 games in his first year at the helm of the program and under his leadership, the Blue and Gold set new program records for total points scored in a season (2,499), 3-point field goals made (313) and 3-point field goals attempted (818). A finalist for the 2012-13 Hugh Durham Award, presented annually to the nation’s top mid-major head coach, Baron led the Griffs to wins over all three local rivals (Buffalo, Niagara and St. Bonaventure), the first time Canisius accomplished that feat since the 2000-01 campaign.