Patrick Beilein resigns as Niagara coach before 1st game
LEWISTON, N.Y. (AP) — Patrick Beilein cited personal reasons for abruptly resigning as Niagara University men's basketball coach two weeks before the start of his first season.
Beilein made the announcement in a statement released by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school on Thursday. The 36-year-old is the son of longtime basketball coach John Beilein, who left Michigan to take over the Cleveland Cavaliers this year.
Former Duke star Greg Paulus was promoted to take over as coach. He was hired to Beilein's staff as an assistant and recruiting coordinator in May.
"Personal reasons I can no longer take lightly have led me to step away from my dream job," his statement said. "Going forward, I must give singular focus to dealing with these issues so that I can become the man that I strive to be."
Beilein had back surgery in September and posted a note on Twitter calling it a "minor setback," and adding he couldn't wait to get back on the court to be with his team.
The Purple Eagles open the season at Drexel on Nov. 8.
Beilein was hired in March after spending four seasons at Division II Le Moyne, where he had a 77-41 record. Le Moyne qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of its past three seasons and made its first appearance in the quarterfinals a year ago.
John Beilein posted a note on his Twitter account following his son's announcement.
"Kathleen and I love our son, Patrick. We will assist him in every way so he can focus 100% on his personal issues," he wrote. "We believe that with a lot of hard work, he can do it."
Patrick Beilein was following in his father's footsteps. John Beilein also coached at Le Moyne and then spent five years at Canisius, a Buffalo-based MAAC school that is Niagara's western New York regional rival.
Paulus, who completed his college career switching to quarterback at Syracuse, returned to basketball as an assistant coach. He spent last season as an assistant at George Washington, and has also been an assistant at Louisville, Ohio State and Navy.
Paulus takes over a Purple Eagles team that went 64-129 and failed to advance past the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals in six seasons under Chris Casey.