Reggie Witherspoon

Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon will not return next season

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After 14 seasons as head coach of the University at Buffalo basketball team, Reggie Witherspoon has been relieved of his duties. UB athletics director Danny White announced the decision in a press release on Friday afternoon.

“After much consideration, we have determined that a change in leadership for our men’s basketball program is necessary,” White said in the release. “Coach Witherspoon has led this program with character and integrity for the past 14 years and we are grateful for his service to our institution.

“This was a very difficult decision because I understand the impact Coach Witherspoon has made to our University and community. To be sure, our program is in a much stronger position than when Reggie and his staff took over.”

In 14 seasons at the MAC school Witherspoon tallied a record of 198-228, with the Bulls finishing this season with an overall record of 14-20 (7-9 MAC East). Buffalo fell to Kent State in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament Thursday night, and the Bulls’ biggest win of the season came on March 2 when they handed Akron its first conference loss of the season (81-67).

With forwards Javon McCrea and Will Regan in the rotation there was some optimism entering the 2012-13 campaign, as Buffalo managed to win 20 games or more in three of the prior four seasons. But the Bulls were unable to build on that momentum, ultimately leading White to decide that the school needs to go in another direction.

Of their top five scorers from this season only one is out of eligibility: guard Tony Watson II (11.3 ppg). With the right hire (meaning that the new head coach would keep the roster intact), this is a group capable of improving the win total in 2013-14.

From a recruiting standpoint Buffalo currently doesn’t have any commitments, be it verbal or signed (early signing period), in the 2013 class.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.