Villanova associate head coach Baker Dunleavy has been tabbed as the new lead man at Quinnipiac, according to reports.
Dunleavy fills the void created when former head coach Tom Moore was let go nearly three weeks ago. Moore put together a 162-150 record over ten years in Hamden, but was unable to guide the Bobcats to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
That task of making history now passes to Dunleavy, who reached the apex of college basketball with the Wildcats’ run to the NCAA title last season.
The Dunleavy era struck an immediate hurdle as the team’s top three scorers from a season ago each requested their release from the program within hours of reports confirming the new head coach.
All-MAAC Rookie Team members Mikey Dixon (16.5 ppg) and Peter Kiss (13.3 ppg) each surpassed the previous Division I school record for points by a freshman last season, while Dixon was named MAAC Rookie of the Year at the annual postseason awards show. Forward Chaise Daniels (13.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) also requested his release. Daniels will have one year of eligibility remaining while Dixon and Kiss will each have three.
As a player at Villanova, Dunleavy appeared in 28 games with one start. He enrolled at the University in 2002 as part of a recruiting class that included notables Randy Foye, Jason Fraser, Allan Ray, and Curtis Sumpter.
Dunleavy returned to Villanova in 2010 as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. From there, he climbed the ladder to Assistant Strength Coach, Assistant Coach, and eventually to his post as Associate Head Coach in 2013.
In four seasons at the post of associate head coach under head man Jay Wright, Villanova has posted a 129-17 record, earned four consecutive Big East regular season titles, captured the Big East Tournament title in 2015 and 2017, and won the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Dunleavy comes to Hamden with a strong basketball pedigree. His brother Mike was the third overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, and currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks. His father Mike Dunleavy Sr. was the head coach for four NBA franchises, and is the current head coach at Tulane University.
Quinnipiac is scheduled to introduce Dunleavy during a press conference Tuesday, March 28 at 1 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Other candidates for the position included Iona assistant Jared Grasso, Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole, Vermont’s John Becker, and former Quinnipiac assistant Scott Burrell
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.