Canisius College Golden Griffins Men’s Basketball coach Jim Baron is retiring. The 62-year-old Baron insisted he is in good health, but said he decided it was time to 'step aside' and spend more time with his family.
“Now it’s time to step away and give my time to my kids, my family, my grandkids,” stated Baron.
Baron appeared Friday afternoon at a news conference at the College’s Koessler Athletic Center. Baron told reporters it has been a ‘very, very emotional’ and ‘tough’ decision to make.
“I want to be a father, a grandfather, that’s what’s important to me at this time,” said Baron.
Baron's two sons play professional basketball in Belgium. They attended the news briefing. He recently traveled to see them play. Baron broke down a couple of times with emotion.
“You have two guys like this – it’s a beautiful thing and I don’t take for granted,” Baron explained.
Baron also become emotional as he talked about a conversation he had with one of his son's about retiring.
“He said to me, he said ‘dad, when are you going to slow down’. I said what you are talking about. He said I want you around for my grandkids,” Baron cried. “When something like happens, I don’t take it lightly.”
Baron's coaching career spans 29-years with the last four at Canisius. He has also coached at St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and Saint Francis University.
“It’s just been a tremendous run and experience,” noted Baron.
Griffs players Jamal Reynolds and Kevin Bleeker told WBFO News it's bittersweet.
“It’s hard, but it happens everywhere,” said Bleeker. “I feel really sad, but at the same time, I really happy for him because you can see he is at peace with his decision,” said Reynolds.
Both players said they had no idea Baron was considering retirement after he signed a three-year contract extension back in March.
Associate head coach Pat Clarke will serve in the interim as a search begins for Baron's replacement.
"We will begin an expedited search. We will do that in short order and we will try and move through that as quickly as possible, but always keeping what's best for our program in the forefront of our minds," said Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher.
Baron was selected four years ago to restore a successful Cansisus basketball team. "Jim has done just that -- 73 victories," said Maher.
Baron said he plans to remain in the area. “I love Buffalo. I’m going to remain in Buffalo,” said Baron.