The George Mason Patriots have hired Dave Paulsen, formerly of Bucknell, to be the new head coach of their men’s basketball team.
After a horrific 2014-15 campaign, where the team finished with an abysmal record of 9-23, changes were needed within the George Mason basketball regime. After 15 years of Jim Larranaga building the basketball program, and a trip to the Final Four in the process, the Patriots chose Dave Hewitt to be their head coach after Larranaga left to go coach at a bigger school in the University of Miami.
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In five years coaching the team, Hewitt failed to ever bring this team to the NCAA Tournament. He had a losing record and seemingly ruined a team that once showed so much potential. As a result, the Patriots decided to fire him and hand the coaching reigns to Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen on Monday.
Coaching Bucknell in the Patriot League, Paulsen won the Coach of the Year Award in the conference two times. With the help of star big man Mike Muscala, Paulsen also brought the Bison to the NCAA Tournament on two occasions. Paulsen tweeted his excitement about the new position and he also talked about the program’s tradition.
John Templon also tweeted his thoughts, talking about how the Patriots got one of the better in-game coaches in the nation and a decent recruiter as well.
A mid-major like George Mason won’t garner the likes of top assistants in the country, but many coaches have used this school as a stepping stone to get to the bigger schools. The prime example of that is Larranaga, who took Miami to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013.
Going from Bucknell to George Mason, the 50-year-old Paulsen is taking the next step up in the college coaching reigns. If he can make George Mason a strong program in the Atlantic 10 Conference, he could very well end up at a bigger school in the future.
For now, however, it needs to be said that the Patriots have surely picked the right man to resuscitate their program.
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