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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Jim Baron

     (Born March 20, 1954) -- Jim Baron and St. Bonaventure was such nice a fit once, they had an long encore performance years later.

     Baron, who was born in Brooklyn, landed in Olean in 1973. He eventually became one of the starting guards for some Bona teams that were quite good.

     Baron wasn't good enough to move on to the pros, but he wanted to stay in basketball. He worked his way up the coaching ladder with assistant's jobs in Rochester, Loyola (Md.), St. Bonaventure (one year), and Notre Dame.

     That experience convinced St. Francis (Pa.) to give him the head coaching job for five seasons, where he got the Red Flash into the NCAA tournament in 1991. Baron was hired as the head coach of the Bonnies in 1992.

     He stayed for nine seasons, making the Big Dance once and the NIT three times. His career record for Bona was one game over .500 at 132-131.

     Baron jumped to Rhode Island in 2001, and he stayed there until he lost his job earlier this month. Under Baron, the Rams didn't make the NCAA tournament yet, but did reach the NIT five times.

--- Budd Bailey

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