Niagara will promote Greg Paulus as its men's basketball coach, a source confirmed to The Buffalo News on Wednesday night.
Niagara named Paulus as its interim men's basketball coach Oct. 24, the same day that Patrick Beilein announced that he was resigning from the job because of personal reasons. CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein originally reported that Paulus had been promoted and that he is expected to sign a multiyear contract.
“I feel prepared," said Paulus, 33, two weeks ago at Niagara, when he was named as the Purple Eagles' interim head coach. "The opportunity to represent this university is something that I’m grateful for.”
Niagara will formally announce Paulus’ promotion Thursday. The Purple Eagles open the season at 7 p.m. Friday at Drexel.
This is Paulus' first head coaching position, after nine seasons as a Division I assistant coach. Paulus is a former All-American basketball point guard at Duke and a former quarterback at Syracuse; the Orange host Niagara at 7 p.m. Dec. 28. Paulus was originally hired in the spring as an assistant coach on Beilein’s staff. Niagara hired Beilein in March, after Chris Casey was fired.
“With the last few days here, it’s been relying on mentors and having those conversations and having a chance to connect with different people about their experiences has been a tremendous resource,” Paulus told The News last week, when discussing how he was preparing for his first year as a Division I basketball coach.
As a first-year head coach, Paulus also looks to put his own stamp on a program that finished last in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season.
“A big part of the leadership is that you have to be yourself, and that’s something, you take the lessons you’ve learned, the principles, the core values and you apply them to your program in a way that it is authentic and in a way that you can be yourself,” Paulus said. “That’s important when getting people to follow what you want to accomplish and inspire them to do what we would like to do. It’s important to be yourself, and to build on the steps we’ve taken in the first six months I’ve been here. Our goal is to create a foundation. It’s to create an identity.”
Paulus played high school football and basketball at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, and he has been a Division I assistant coach since 2010, when he was originally hired at the Naval Academy. He was a video coordinator and then an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2011 to 2016, he was an assistant at Louisville in 2017-19, and then he was at George Washington last season.
“Greg knew he wanted to be a coach, for so many years,” former Ohio State coach Thad Matta told The News last week. “He knew he had to climb the ladder.
“It’s ironic that he’s kind of back home. I hope, with his ties to high school coaches in New York and AAU guys, that there’s a bond, and it will help with what Greg has to do as a coach.”