ALBANY — At the start of the team’s offseason, UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings said he’s been “really lucky with the staff we’ve put in place” and that the The goal was to keep the program’s assortment of coaches together.
“But there will always be this threat of losing guys,” Killings said in March.
Fast forward several months, and that threat has certainly materialized for UAlbany. That left the program having to rebuild its coaching staff — and roster, as is normal in college basketball these days — this offseason, a turbulent season that began with a high-profile investigation by the school on Killings’ program that “justified” there was “inappropriate physical contact between Coach Killings and a student-athlete during a pre-game hype circle”. Killings retained his position, but will serve a five-game suspension next season.
Already this offseason, assistant coaches Matt Griffin and Dannton Jackson have left for other college basketball jobs, as has director of recruiting and video KJ Baptiste. The possible change ahead for the Great Danes is the loss of Hamlet Tibbs – who is currently Killings’ only returning assistant coach – to serve as an assistant coach at Notre Dame of the Atlantic Coast Conference. ESPN’s Pete Thamel earlier this week signaled Notre Dame’s interest in Tibbs, and Killings confirmed Wednesday after a team practice at the soon-to-be-renovated SEFCU Arena that he had several conversations with the coach. Notre Dame Chief Mike Brey regarding Tibbs.
“I had a contact that contacted me and they were looking for names, and I suggested [Tibbs] and it took off,” said Killings, whose first group of Great Danes finished 13-18. “I think he has a really good chance of succeeding. So we’ll see where it goes, and I’m super proud of him.
Tibbs was at Wednesday’s summer training for the Great Danes, as was Bobby Jordan who was recently hired as one of UAlbany’s new assistant coaches. Former director of basketball operations Dan Madhavapallil has been promoted to assistant coach, but Tibbs’ departure would force Killings to find another new assistant coach – and the Great Danes would then bring a whole new group of assistant coaches into the campaign 2022-23. .
Griffin and Baptiste left UAlbany to become assistant coaches at Florida Gulf Coast, while Jackson left to become men’s basketball head coach and assistant athletic director of external affairs at Talladega College in Alabama. Killings said he sees members of the Great Danes coaching staff moving forward as signs that UAlbany has “really talented people in our gym” but also that changes to his coaching staff “have happened. a little faster” than he had expected.
“Now,” Killings said, “we have to find the next wave to be here.”
Jordan has technically been hired twice this offseason. After spending three seasons at Wagner as assistant coach to head coach Bashir Mason, Jordan moved to Saint Peter’s in June with Mason, who replaced Shaheen Holloway after Holloway became Seton’s coach. Hall after Saint Peter’s memorable Elite Eight race. Jordan coached at the high school and college levels, and played and coached at Drexel for James “Bruiser” Flint, who coached Killings at UMass.
UAlbany’s formal summer training with its players ends on Friday. When the Great Danes reunite after a break, it’s still unclear where they will play and train. UAlbany announced last week that renovations to SEFCU Arena will begin next month and end in November 2023.
Several sites were rumored to serve as the home ground for UAlbany basketball teams in the 2022-23 season, with Hudson Valley Community College a location that was consistently mentioned. Killings, however, said it remains “to be determined” where the Great Danes will play next season.
“Hopefully everything is cohesive – or at the very least this is the best place we can put our product on the ground and get the community to support us,” Killings said.
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