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Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Felisha Legette-Jack, Jim Whitesell receive contract extensions

UB locks up men’s and women’s basketball coaches through 2025

Felisha Legette-Jack, 54, is entering her tenth season as head coach, after amassing a 177-107 record in Buffalo. The winningest coach in program history, Legette-Jack guided the Bulls to a 15-9 record and a MAC semifinal appearance in 2020-21.
Felisha Legette-Jack, 54, is entering her tenth season as head coach, after amassing a 177-107 record in Buffalo. The winningest coach in program history, Legette-Jack guided the Bulls to a 15-9 record and a MAC semifinal appearance in 2020-21.

UB announced Thursday that men’s basketball coach Jim Whitesell and women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack have received contract extensions that could keep them in the Queen City through the 2025 season.

Whitesell, 61, is entering his third season as head coach and seventh season on the team’s staff. After a rocky first season at the helm, he guided his team to a 16-9 record and a MAC Championship Game appearance in 2020-21.

Three players — junior forward Josh Mballa, junior forward Jeenathan Williams and senior guard Jayvon Graves — received second-team All-MAC honors for their performances. The Bulls received a bid to play in the National Invitational Tournament, which they exited after a first-round loss to Colorado State.

“We are excited about the future of our men’s basketball program under Jim Whitesell’s leadership,” Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said in a statement. “I am pleased with the trajectory of the program and I look forward to working with Jim for many years to come.”

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Jim Whitesell, 61, is entering his third season as head coach and seventh season on the team’s staff.

Legette-Jack, 54, is entering her tenth season as head coach, after amassing a 177-107 record in Buffalo. The winningest coach in program history, Legette-Jack guided the Bulls to a 15-9 record and a MAC semifinal appearance in 2020-21.

Sophomore guard Dyaisha Fair ranked sixth in the nation in scoring and was named first-team All-MAC, while freshman guard Cheyenne McEvans was added to the All-MAC Freshman Team.

“We believe in Coach Jack and the future is very bright for our UB women’s basketball program,” Alnutt said. “This extension represents the stability and commitment needed to execute the long-term vision that Felisha and I share.”

Whitesell was the head coach of Division I Loyola Chicago in the mid-2000s, before becoming an assistant at Saint Louis and later, St. John’s. He has a career 145-127 record as head coach at the D1 level. He was the associate head coach under Nate Oats at UB from 2015 to 2019, before being named head coach following Oats’ departure for the University of Alabama.

“I am extremely grateful for the support and the confidence in me shown by Mark Alnutt and Dr. [Satish] Tripathi,” Whitesell said, referring to UB’s president. “We have a fantastic group of young men and I am honored to work with them each day. We have an outstanding group that has the chance to do something special and we can’t wait for the fans and student body to be back in the stands at Alumni Arena cheering us on. Finally, I’d like to thank my staff whose dedication and hard work has been paramount.”

Legette-Jack was a decorated athlete at Syracuse University, before joining the coaching ranks. She served as Hofstra’s head coach from 2002-06 and Indiana’s head coach from 2006-12 before taking the Buffalo job.

In less than a decade, she has led the Bulls to three NCAA Tournament appearances — including a 29-6 record and a Sweet Sixteen bid in 2017-18. She also helped guide Cierra Dillard to MAC Tournament MVP honors and a second-round selection in the 2019 WNBA Draft.

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“I am excited about this opportunity that our administration has given to me to continue to build upon our successes both on and off the court,” Legette-Jack said. “To have longevity is very important when it comes to recruiting the next level of future Bulls and we are excited to grow this program to newfound heights.”

Whitesell is currently signed to a five-year contract that earns him $300,000 in base salary and $100,000 in additional compensation. Legette-Jack has a base salary of $270,000 and additional compensation of $75,000, under her current contract.

The men’s team will partake in the Cancún Challenge from Nov. 20-24. The men’s and women’s schedules will likely be released in the coming weeks.

Justin Weiss is the managing editor and can be reached at justin.weiss@ubspectrum.com


JUSTIN WEISS
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Justin Weiss is the The Spectrum's managing editor. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren't winning. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @Jwmlb1.

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