Saturday, May 28, 2016

Reggie Witherspoon replaces Jim Baron as head coach at Canisius

Reggie Witherspoon, who spent 14 seasons as head coach at nearby Buffalo, returns to Western New York to be Jim Baron's successor at Canisius. (Photo courtesy of Today's U)

Canisius did not need to look very far to replace Jim Baron, hiring a well-respected native son to lead the Golden Griffins into the 2016-17 season.

Reggie Witherspoon, a Buffalo product who once played for former Griffs coach John Beilein when the two were at Erie Community College, was named head coach Saturday morning, just eight days after Baron announced his retirement, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and watch his sons play professionally overseas.

"I am incredibly excited for our men's basketball program, our college, and for Western New York to welcome Reggie Witherspoon as our new head coach," Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said in a statement. "Having known him for over 16 years, I am confident in his abilities and his fit for Canisius."

The 55-year-old Witherspoon is best known for his 14-year stint as head coach of the University at Buffalo, where he guided the Bulls to 198 career wins and four postseason appearances out of the Mid-American Conference. Most recently, he was an assistant on Matt McCall's staff at Chattanooga; who reached the NCAA Tournament this past season, and also at Alabama under former head coach Anthony Grant.

"I am excited to take over Canisius on a number of levels," he said. "Having grown up here in the area, I remember going to see a lot of Canisius games as a kid and then as I grew older, I started to become friends with guys that played or were playing at Canisius. I want to thank President (John) Hurley and Bill Maher for giving me this opportunity to return to Western New York as a head coach, and I am really looking forward to building on the long history of the men's basketball program."

Witherspoon, who signed a five-year contract that will run through the 2020-21 season, will be officially introduced Tuesday in a 10 a.m. press conference inside the Koessler Athletic Center.

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