Jim Whitesell named men’s basketball head coach


UB Athletics has named Jim Whitesell the 14th head coach in UB men’s basketball history, Athletic Director Mark Alnutt announced on Saturday. Whitesell has been the associate head coach since 2015.

Members of the UB community were surprised when former head coach Nate Oats announced his departure just two weeks after signing a five-year extension with the school. Whitesell was named the interim head coach as the Bulls launched a national search, ultimately deciding on Whitesell. 

“After conducting a national search and talking with some of the brightest college basketball minds across the country, it was clear to us that the best candidate for this position was right here in Buffalo,” Alnutt said in a UB statement.

The Bulls have completed their most successful four-year stretch in school history, including a program and conference-record 32 wins this season. Buffalo has won three Mid-American Conference titles in those four seasons and won an NCAA tournament game the past two seasons.

Whitesell was instrumental in getting CJ Massinburg to UB and was heavily involved in developing Nick Perkins into the player he is today. Both Massinburg and Perkins are in UB’s top-five scorers of all time.

Every recruit scheduled to come in this season has requested their release from their National Letter of Intent.

Before UB, Whitesell’s most recent head coaching job was at Loyola University-Chicago. In seven seasons, he led the team to 109 victories, including the program’s first 20-win season since 1985 in 2006-07. 

Whitesell spent his next four years as an assistant between St. Louis and St. Johns, helping guide both teams to NCAA tournament appearances.

“I was ecstatic for both Jim and the program we built together when I heard the news today and I'm super excited that Coach Whitesell will be directing the Buffalo men's basketball program,” Oats said. 

“He's been a huge part of the success we've had over the last four years,” Oats said. “The administration recognized his value to the program and did the right thing in promoting him. I consider Jim to be a dear friend and couldn't be happier for him and his wife Connie.”

Nathaniel Mendelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at nathaniel.mendelson@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @NateMendelson