Niagara names Paulus permanent head coach

Greg Paulus

Niagara University has reached a multi-year deal with Greg Paulus to become to 23rd head coach in the history of the men’s basketball program.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein first tweeted the news Wednesday night, and an athletics department source confirmed the report.

Paulus was hired by Niagara as an assistant to Patrick Beilein on April 30. When Beilein resigned on Oct. 24, Niagara quickly tabbed Paulus as its interim head coach.

The 33-year-old Paulus interviewed for the full-time gig on Oct. 30, according to a source.

Paulus, a former multi-sport star at Christian Brothers Academy just outside Syracuse, played four years at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski from 2005-09. With his basketball eligibility up, Paulus returned home and laced up his football cleats, quarterbacking Syracuse University as a graduate student in the fall of 2009.

After trying out for the New Orleans Saints, Paulus returned to basketball, joining Navy as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season. From there, he moved to Ohio State, spending six seasons on Thad Matta’s staff.

When Matta retired in 2017, Paulus landed at Louisville in the wake of the Rick Pitino scandal. He was an assistant there for the 2017-18 season, but once again moved on after interim coach Dave Padgett was not retained. This time, Paulus moved on to George Washington, where he spent the 2018-19 season before head coach Maurice Joseph was fired.

Niagara Director of Athletics Simon Gray praised Paulus in the wake of Beilein’s resignation.

“Greg’s done a very good job since he came to Niagara University in exerting his leadership,” Gray said back on Oct. 24. “He’s been at the highest level of college basketball, both as a player and a coach, and we are excited for his leadership and taking this forward.”

Paulus takes over a staff that still consists of assistant coaches Brett Ervin and Bryan Smothers and director of basketball operations Madison Hahesy. He’ll have the opportunity to add one more assistant.

The Purple Eagles open the 2019-20 season Friday night at Drexel.

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