Bloomsburg University Director of Athletics Dr. Michael McFarland has announced the hiring of Chris Bess as the next head men’s basketball coach, effective May 16.
“The Bloomsburg University men’s basketball program welcomes an up-and-coming leader Coach Bess as the 22nd head coach of the men’s basketball program,” McFarland said. “We have secured a passionate and exciting leader who believes in BU’s athletic and institutional goals and is ready to return the men’s basketball program to the top of the PSAC.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris Bess to campus to lead our men’s basketball program,” said BU President Dr. Bashar Hanna. “Chris stood out among a vast and impressive list of coaching candidates, and I am confident his passion for the game of basketball and positive energy will resonate with our student-athletes and the entire BU family. Coach Bess understands what it takes to win and the needs of our program – especially succeeding in and out of the classroom as well as in the community – and we are excited to welcome Chris and his family to the BU family.”
Bess joins Bloomsburg after tremendous success with the men’s and women’s basketball programs at fellow Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference institution (PSAC), Edinboro University. A 2010 graduate of Edinboro, Bess has worked with both basketball teams and, since the 2018-19 season, has served as an assistant coach for the women’s program. The Fighting Scots went 51-32 overall and 41-24 in PSAC action. Edinboro went to three-straight PSAC Tournaments and went to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19.
Bess and head coach Callie Wheeler lead Edinboro to a 20-9 record in their first season together, the ninth straight season with 20-or-more wins, and a tenth straight berth in the PSAC, a second consecutive season in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Bess was an assistant with the men’s team from 2013 to 2018 and helped the Fighting Scots to three PSAC tournaments. In his final season with the men’s program, Edinboro finished with an 18-11 record and came in fourth in the PSAC West after being picked to finish eighth in the coaches’ preseason poll. The 18 wins were the most since the 2012-13 squad also won 18 games. Edinboro defeated Pitt-Johnstown and top-seeded Indiana (Pa.) to reach the PSAC semifinals for the first time since 2007-08. In the semifinals, the Fighting Scots fell to the eventual PSAC champion East Stroudsburg.
“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen as the next head men’s basketball coach at Bloomsburg University!” remarked Coach Bess. “My family and I are extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to become a part of the Bloomsburg family. Playing and coaching in the PSAC, I have always admired Bloomsburg University and its athletic department. Husky Basketball has such a proud history, and I am honored to lead this program and these young men as we push forward and strive for greatness!”
“I would like to thank President Hanna and Dr. McFarland, and the search committee for their ongoing work throughout this process. I appreciate their confidence and trust in me to lead the Bloomsburg men’s basketball program into the future.”
Bess returned to Edinboro after a three-year stint at Shaker Heights High School from August 2010 to 2013. Shaker Heights won a pair of league titles, capturing the Lake Erie League championship in 2012 and the 2013 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division. In addition, the Raiders won three straight OHSAA Division I sectional championships and two consecutive district crowns.
“I cannot wait to get to campus, develop relationships, and get to work! Go Huskies!” Bess added.
McFarland further stated, “I would like to thank our search committee for their diligence over the past month. The search committee brought a great group of potential leaders forward for Zoom interviews and face-to-face discussions in its quest to identify an individual who can return the Huskies to the top of the PSAC. Again, welcome to the Husky Family Coach Bess, Alisha, and Aiden.”
Bess played football and basketball at Edinboro during his academic career. Recruited initially to Edinboro to play football as a defensive end and tight end, Bess walked on to the basketball team and helped the Fighting Scots to 73 wins in his 101 games on the hardwood. Bess scored 517 points and pulled down 285 rebounds while earning four letters. He served as a captain on the 2009-10 team.
BU Athletics welcomes Bess and his wife Alisha and son Aiden to Bloomsburg.