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Bonnies look to extend Schmidt's contract

By Rodney McKissic

Now that Mark Schmidt has moved on from Boston College, St. Bonaventure is looking to extend his contract.

Schmidt’s current deal runs through the 2018-19 season and the Bonnies hope to extend the coach another two years, according to a source.

“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program," St. Bonaventure AD Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”

ESPN reported Tuesday morning that Schmidt was no longer an option at Boston College. A source confirmed that Schmidt spoke with former South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of Boston College. According to the source, Boston College athletics director Brad Bates did not ask St. Bonaventure athletics director Steve Watson permission to speak with Schmidt, a common practice among ADs, although Bates was not obligated to do so.

Fogler spoke directly to Schmidt, who kept Watson apprised of the proceedings, the source said. Neither Schmidt nor Watson were available for comment.

Schmidt has a 106-109 record at St. Bonaventure and in 2012 he led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000. Schmidt played at Boston College from 1981-85.

“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a statement released by the school. “This is a fantastic University with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”

Report: Schmidt no longer an option at Boston College

By Rodney McKissic

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is no longer an option at Boston College, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Goodman is also reporting that Syracuse University assistant Mike Hopkins is no longer under consideration as well.

Schmidt reportedly interviewed at Boston College last week; nevertheless according to Mark Blaudschun of www.ajerseyguy.com, Schmidt spoke with Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of the school last week. Schmidt played at BC from 1981-85.

Hopkins interviewed on campus on Saturday and on Monday Ohio University coach Jim Christian emerged as a viable candidate which stands to reason because he’s one of Fogler’s clients. Christian’s head coaching stops include Kent State and TCU.  It is unknown if Christian has scheduled an interview.

Schmidt, who was unavailable for comment, recently completed his seventh season at St. Bonaventure where he has a 106-109 record. In 2012, Schmidt led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000.

Quinn to ND Intriguing but . . .

By Bob DiCesare

UB coach Jeff Quinn is working awfully hard on retooling his coaching staff for someone rumored as a candidate to reunite with Brian Kelly at Notre Dame.

The Bulls have hired esteemed strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris to replace Zach Duval, who left for the same job at Wyoming. Morris, UB's S&C coach in 2006 before leaving for Pitt, starts on Jan. 27. He worked for the Panthers through 2010, returned to Buffalo, and told me tonight he has been aching to get back in football ever since.

Sources say two other departures from Quinn's staff likely will be absorbed from within. Notably, the intent is to have offensive coordinator/receivers coach Alex Wood drops receivers for quarterbacks after Don Patterson departed to become associate head coach/QB coach at UConn. Most recently, defensive line coach Jappy Oliver departed, reportedly for Virginia.

Would Quinn be actively reorganizing and hiring if he was looking to reunite with Kelly and become offensive coordinator at Notre Dame? Perhaps. Nothing's outside the realm of possibility in college coaching, and neither Quinn nor AD Danny White responded to messages left concerning the Notre Dame talk. A source close to Notre Dame football said it's not happening.

But there is an intriguing angle to the Notre Dame thing in that Quinn's at a crossroads as a head coach. To maintain a glow he has to sustain success comparable the eight-win season of 2013, and he has to do it with heavy graduation losses that include five first-team All-MAC players. Were the program to backtrack over the next couple of years his star dulls. J.D. Brookhart won the East and the MAC at Akron in 2005 and was fired after the 2009 season for failing to sustain. Coaching' can be a cruel world.

Now let's say Quinn became OC at Notre Dame -- he had the job for a week before being hired by UB -- and produced. His body of work at UB showing continual improvement would make him an OC with a successful head coaching stint, giving him a leg up on much of the competition if he pursued another head coaching vacancy at a higher level.

Just something to consider even though the winds appear to be blowing in the other direction.

Meanwhile, I'll be filing another blog on Morris's return to the Bulls in a short while.

 

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

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

Source: Baron offered Canisius job

---Former St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron has been offered the job at Canisius multiple sources have told The News.

Baron, who was fired after 11 years at Rhode Island, is in negotiations with the school and is seeking additional funds for assistant coaches to help build a stronger infrastructure in the program.

While waiting on a commitment from Baron, Canisius AD Bill Maher is still talking to candidates in case Baron turns down the job. A source told The News that Maher on Wednesday spoke with Jayson Gee, the associate head coach at Cleveland State and former a St. Bonaventure assistant.

Baron, who coached at St. Bonaventure from 1992-01, had four consecutive 20-win seasons at Rhode Island before last season’s 7-24 finish and was fired a year after he agreed to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season. He has a career record of 390-367 (.515).

Norfolk State's Anthony Evans and Rhode Island College's Bob Walsh are also candidates, according to sources.

---Rodney McKissic

(twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Canisius coaching search update

---Canisius College placed as 4-6 week window to hire Tom Parrotta’s replacement and the process appears to be on schedule.

Canisius AD Bill Maher, with the help of Bill Carr Associates, is narrowing his list of candidates, which includes former St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron, according to multiple sources. The list also includes Norfolk State’s Anthony Evans and Bob Walsh, the former San Diego and Iona assistant now at Division III Rhode Island College, according to sources. All have head coaching experience which Maher desires.

Baron, who coached at St. Bonaventure from 1992-01, had four consecutive 20-win seasons at Rhode Island before last season’s 7-24 finish and was fired a year after he agreed to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season. He has a career record of 390-367 (.515).

After leading Norfolk State to its first MEAC championship, Evans led the school to an upset win over Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A native of Brooklyn, Norfolk State has seven New York natives on its roster.

Walsh just completed his seventh season at RIC where he’s made seven consecutive trips to the postseason and six straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

---Rodney McKissic

(twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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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


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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