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Pack signs Rivers

UB wideout Marcus Rivers (Lackawanna) has signed a free-agent deal with the Green Bay Packers that reunites him with former Bulls RB James Starks (Niagara Falls). Rivers caught 60 passes for 615 yards and 2 TDs last season. He goes 6-3, 220.

-- Bob DiCesare

Crowley signs extension with St. Bonaventure

Rest easy, St. Bonaventure women's basketball fans. Jim Crowley is coming back.

The head coach who guided the Bonnies to the Sweet 16 signed a contract extension. Details were not disclosed the deal keeps Crowley behind the Bona bench through the 2018-19 season. Last June, Crowley and Bona negotiated a contract extension through the end of the 2016-17 season.

The annoucement comes a few weeks after the Bonnies made Big 4 history advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA basketball tournament -- the first time for a Big 4 program of either gender since the Bona men did it in 1970. The team went 31-4 and 14-0 in the Atlantic 10. Earning a national ranking and at-large berth in the NCAA field, Bona's season ended with a loss to national runner-up Notre Dame.

Bona's success drew national attention for Crowley, who was a finalist for the Naismith Award and won the ESPN.com National Coach of the Year honor.

In the last four years, the Bonnies have gone to the postseason four times with a 98-37 record. 

"We are pleased to have Jim remain at St. Bonaventure," athletic director Steve Watson said in a release from the university. "This extension represents our commitment to him and likewise him to us. Jim has built a program which represents our University well on the court, on campus, in the classroom and in the community. We anticipate continued success under his guidance and leadership."

--- Amy Moritz

 

Trailblazer Tribute: Nan Harvey

To honor the work of the late Nan Harvey, the University at Buffalo put together this three-minute video about her legacy. While Harvey, a former student-athlete and coach at UB, was a crusader for gender equity in UB's athletic department as an administrator, she also was a firm believer in expanding opportunites for women without cutting into men's programs. 

The video is part the 40th annivesary celebration of Title IX and was entered in the Trailblazer Tribute Video Contest, sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators' Trailblazer Tribute. The video with the most views on YouTube will be awarded $9,000 for its women's athletics programs. The contest runs from 10 a.m. today (April 9) through 6 p.m. on April 23.

--- Amy Moritz

 

 

 

Battle Staying Put

UB assistant basketball coach Turner Battle just got back to me to make it known he's not taking the job at UNC-Greensboro.

-- Bob DiCesare

Battle Leaving UB?

Could Turner Battle be leaving UB's basketball coaching staff?

Sources say that Battle has had discussions with UNC-Greensboro coach Wes Miller about becoming an assistant with the Spartans. Miller last month signed a five-year deal with the school, and Battle hails from Kernersville, N.C., about 20 minutes away.

Battle, one of UB's all-time playing greats and a member of the school's hall of fame, has spent five years as an assistant to Bulls head coach Reggie Witherspoon.

-- Bob DiCesare

Baron introduced at Canisius

Jim Baron was officially announced as the head coach for the Canisius men's basketball team at a media event this afternoon. The former player and coach at St. Bonaventure accepted the job this week after he was fired from Rhode Island and the Golden Griffins fired Tom Parrotta.

A Bona guy coaching at Canisius?

For athletics director Bill Maher, Niagara is the biggest rival of the Golden Griffins, though he understands the intensity of the old Canisius-Bona rivaly for part of the alumni base. Heck, several times the gathering of alumni, students and friends of the program were reminded that the ticket office was open if you wanted to, say, purchase your season ticket package which would include a home game against those pesky Fraciscans.

But Baron doesn't have that game circled on his calendar just yet.

"There are a lot of games before then," Baron said.

And there's lots of work to do. Baron had one team meeting but still needs to meet individually with the players. He needs to hire his staff  ("You're everybody's favorite guy when you have openings on your staff," Baron said) and he needs to reacquaint himself with the community and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

--- Amy Moritz

Canisius makes Baron hiring official

Canisius College this afternoon confirmed it has hired Jim Baron as its next men's basketball coach.

"I am extremely pleased to introduce Jim Baron as our men's basketball coach," Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher said in a press release issued by the school. "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."

Baron has plenty of experience in the Big 4. He's a 1977 graduate of St. Bonaventure who coached at his alma mater for nine years (1992-2001), making one of his two career NCAA Tournament appearances with the Bonnies (in 2000). Baron went on to coach for the past 11 years at Rhode Island, leading the Rams to five NIT appearances and a 184-165 overall record.

Baron's hiring was first reported Sunday night by cbssportsline.com, although it wasn't made official by the school until this afternoon.

Baron, 58, will be introduced at a press conference at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Koessler Athletic Center. The coach, who was fired from Rhode Island last month after a 7-24 season, signed a five-year contract. He has an overall career record of 390-367 in 25 years as a Division I coach.

Prior to his time at Bona, he coached St. Francis (Pa.) for five seasons, including his other NCAA Tournament appearance, in 1991.

"This is a great day for Canisius College basketball," school president John J. Hurley said in a release. "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."

Baron takes over for Tom Parrotta, who was fired last month after a 5-25 season. The Griffs do return all five starters from that team.

Baron and his wife, Cindy, have two sons: Jimmy, a 2009 graduate of URI who played for his father, and Billy, who just completed his sophomore season with the Rams.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Report: Baron to accept Canisius job

Jim Baron will be returning to Western New York as head coach of the Canisius men's basketball team, according to a report tonight from Jeff Goodman of cbssportsline.com. Goodman's report can be found here.

There has been no official word from Canisius on the hiring as of yet. Baron, 58, was fired last month by Rhode Island after a 7-24 season. 

He previously coached St. Bonaventure from 1992-2001, leading the Bonnies to one NCAA Tournament appearance and three trips to the NIT. At Rhode Island, he took the Rams to the NIT five times in 11 seasons, but was never able to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Canisius fired Tom Parrotta last month after a disappointing 5-25 season.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.

@RodneyMcKissic | rmckissic@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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