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Buffalo hires longtime Villanova assistant George Halcovage as coach

Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — Longtime Villanova assistant George Halcovage is taking over the Buffalo men’s basketball program, the school announced Thursday.

Halcovage broke into coaching as a graduate assistant on Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova in 2008 before working his way up to associate head coach in Wright’s final season in 2021-22, when the Wildcats reached the Final Four. In that time, the Wildcats won national championships in 2016 and 2018 and seven Big East regular-season titles.

“He has experience winning at the highest level, he’s a tenacious recruiter and has the exceptional ability to connect with people,” Buffalo athletic director Mark Alnutt said in a statement. “He has a very clear vision of sustained excellence for UB Basketball which will position our program to regularly compete for MAC Championships and perform at a high level in the classroom while developing young men who will be champions in life.”

He replaces Jim Whitesell, who in four seasons failed to sustain the Bulls’ success as a Mid-American Conference power established by his immediate predecessors Nate Oats and Bobby Hurley. Buffalo made four NCAA Tournament appearances — including the program’s first — from 2014 to 2019 before Oats left for Alabama.

Whitesell had been Oats’ assistant before being promoted. He was fired on March 11 after the Bulls (15-17) lost in the quarterfinal of the Mid-American Conference tournament for the third time in four years.

Halcovage is from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of Babson College.


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