Jim Whitesell has been tapped as the 14th head coach in University at Buffalo Men's Basketball program history, suceeding Nate Oats who recently left to take the head coaching job at Alabama. On Monday, Whitesall said he hopes to continue the gritty, physical playing style that has become synonymous with Buffalo basketball.
Oats led the UB men to three NCAA Tournament appearances in the four seasons he coached the team. At an introductory news conference Monday morning, Whitesell said he planned to build upon his role every step of the way as associate coach.
“I've been asked this a lot, are you going to keep the same style of play? Oh yeah, we’re definitely going to run, we’re going to guard, and we’re going to play that blue collar style of play,” said Whitesell. “Our fans want that, I want that, it’s been exciting and it’s grown every year and morphed into something else. [That is] definitely what we’re all about, so that’s not going to change at all.”
This past season, the sixth-seeded Bulls saw their highest-ever seed in the NCAA Tournament. Whitesell hopes to build on that success, but to also wipe the slate clean as he looks to lead the program.
“I’m really excited about tomorrow, we get back in the gym and do what we do,” Whitesell said. “We get back into working and we go back to earning what we’re doing. We’re back to being zero and zero. We’re ready to go and develop the next chapter that way.”
This will be Whitesell’s second Division One head coaching job. From 2004 to 2011 he served as the head men’s basketball coach at Loyola University in Illinois. There he led the Ramblers to a 109-106 record over his seven-season tenure. Whitesell has also coached on the Division Two and Three levels.
Whitesell will have his work cut out for him in the offseason. The Bulls are losing conference MVP C.J. Massinburg to graduation, and because of the coaching change, several recruits have rescinded their commitment letters.