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Bring on the Baron: Canisius fills head coaching vacancy

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blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

It’s official. Announced in a press release today from the Canisius College Athletics Department, former Rhode Island Rams head coach Jim Baron has agreed to a five-year deal to coach the Canisius Griffins men’s basketball team. Baron replaces Tom Parrotta, who was fired two days after the Griffs fell to Niagara in the first round of the MAAC Tournament.

“This is a great day for Canisius College basketball,” Canisius College president John J. Hurley said. “Jim Baron has demonstrated throughout his career that it is possible to match success on the court with success in the classroom. He has been a positive influence in the lives of hundreds of young men, and I’m tremendously excited about the prospect of working with Jim to restore Golden Griffin basketball to glory.”

Although Cleveland State associate head coach Jayson Gee and David Duda, an assistant at St. Joseph’s, also also formally interviewed for the position, Canisius has opted for Baron’s experience over the potential of the others.

Baron’s move means that he’ll coach for the second time in Western New York—he spent nine years in St. Bonaventure (‘92-‘01) and led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament since 1978, the unforgettable overtime loss to #5 seed Kentucky and Tayshaun Prince in the first round.

The head coach’s 11 years in Rhode Island closed with a 184-166 overall mark, but he finished 83-93 in Atlantic 10 play and never vaulted the Rams to the NCAA Tournament. Baron’s 2012 was simply a debacle; the young Rams, who started three freshman for much of the season, wound up with a 7-24 record and witnessed the dismissal of their leading scorer, senior Jamal Wilson, due to an undisclosed violation of team rules. Clearly, the team needed a blank slate, and Baron’s contract was terminated with two years remaining.

One of the lone bright spots for Rhode Island, Baron’s son Billy, has chosen to remain with the Rams under new head coach Danny Hurley. Baron’s other son, Jimmy, currently plays overseas with Lagun Aro GBC in Spain’s ACB, the country’s top professional league. 

Baron made just below $350,000 as a base salary last season with Rhode Island, but overall totaled over $500,000 when adding in other contract guarantees, the Providence Journal reported.

TAGGED: big 4 basketball, bill maher, canisius college, college basketball, jayson gee, jim baron, maac basketball, nick veronica, rhode island rams

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