NCAA Basketball

Buffalo hires Villanova assistant Halcovage as coach

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) Longtime Villanova assistant George Halcovage is taking over the Buffalo men’s basketball program, the school announced Thursday.

Halcovage broke into coaching as a graduate assistant on Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova in 2008 before working his way up to associate head coach in Wright’s final season in 2021-22, when the Wildcats reached the Final Four. In that time, the Wildcats won national championships in 2016 and 2018 and seven Big East regular-season titles.

“He has experience winning at the highest level, he’s a tenacious recruiter and has the exceptional ability to connect with people,” Buffalo athletic director Mark Alnutt said in a statement. “He has a very clear vision of sustained excellence for UB Basketball which will position our program to regularly compete for MAC Championships and perform at a high level in the classroom while developing young men who will be champions in life.”

He replaces Jim Whitesell, who in four seasons failed to sustain the Bulls’ success as a Mid-American Conference power established by his immediate predecessors Nate Oats and Bobby Hurley. Buffalo made four NCAA Tournament appearances - including the program’s first - from 2014 to 2019 before Oats left for Alabama.

Whitesell had been Oats’ assistant before being promoted. He was fired on March 11 after the Bulls (15-17) lost in the quarterfinal of the Mid-American Conference tournament for the third time in four years.

Halcovage is from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of Babson College.


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Updated March 30, 2023

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