George Mason Men’s Basketball Staff Update

George Mason University men’s basketball head coach Dave Paulsen has announced a trio of coaching staff updates for the 2020-21 season.
Duane Simpkins, who has served as an assistant on Paulsen’s staff since 2015-16, has been promoted to associate head coach.
Bryson Johnson, who has worked as a graduate manager and interim assistant coach under Paulsen, has been promoted to assistant coach.
In addition, former George Washington University head coach Maurice Joseph has joined the Mason program as an assistant coach.
The program’s staff now includes three coaches who played Division I basketball, with Simpkins (Maryland), Johnson (Bucknell) and Joseph (Michigan State/Vermont).
“I couldn’t be more excited about the coaching staff we’ve assembled,” Paulsen said. “It certainly is a rarity in this game to have three former Division I players on the same coaching staff, but what sets these guys apart is their commitment to player development, their humility and their willingness to work together as a team. Collectively this is a group of the highest character. They are outstanding mentors and role models, excellent teachers on the court, elite recruiters and championship people.”
Simpkins Promoted to Associate Head Coach
An assistant for Paulsen since his arrival in Fairfax, Simpkins will continue to work closely with the Mason bench boss as the program’s new associate head coach.
“Since he joined our staff five years ago, Duane has proven to be one of the finest people, student-athlete mentors and teachers of the game I have been around,” Paulsen said. “He and I have forged a close relationship and his impact on the program has grown by leaps and bounds. This past year, Duane took on a leadership role as our most experienced and lead assistant coach. He absolutely thrived in that position.”
A DMV basketball legend, Simpkins earned McDonald’s All-America honors at DeMatha Catholic High School under legendary Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten. He became just the third freshman to make DeMatha’s varsity team.
Simpkins went on to star for Gary Williams at Maryland, where he scored 1,152 points while leading the Terps to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of Sweet 16s. Simpkins still ranks seventh on the Maryland all-time assists list with 483 career dimes.
After a seven-year professional career both in the U.S. and abroad, Simpkins began his coaching career at the high school level, where he led Sidwell Friends to a 16-0 league record and the program’s first conference title in 40 years.
He first transitioned to the collegiate ranks as director of basketball operations under Pat Skerry at Towson. His first college assistant job came under UNCG head coach Wes Miller, where he recruited a number of the program’s top players and developed seven All-SoCon selections who helped turn the Spartan program into one of the top mid-major teams in the nation.
During Simpkins’ tenure in Fairfax, Mason has accomplished a number of program firsts, including setting or matching school records for Atlantic 10 victories in three consecutive seasons, as well as posting a new program best for Atlantic 10 road wins (5) in 2018-19. After winning the program’s first ever A-10 Tournament game in 2016-17, the Patriots have now won a league championship contest in four consecutive seasons.
Simpkins also has played a major role in the program’s culture of player development. During his time at Mason, a Patriot has won the A-10 Most Improved Player Award in three of the past four seasons.
“Duane has played a major role in developing all aspects and elements within our program,” Paulsen said. “He is a trusted colleague, great strategist, elite recruiter and committed servant to our student-athletes. He has been invaluable to me in all things small and big regarding our commitment to these young men who are in our charge. He has been every bit as much of a mentor and influence to me as hopefully I’ve been able to be to him.”
Simpkins recently has received national acclaim within the coaching industry. Silverwaves Media named him as one of the country’s Top-50 Most Impactful Mid-Major Assistants in 2020. In addition, he has earned an invite to Top Connect – which brings premier athletic directors and assistant coaches together – in each of the past two seasons. At the 2019 Final Four, he also participated in the Collegiate Coaching Consortium, sponsored by AthleticDirectorU and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
“I’m tremendously grateful to Coach Paulsen for his vote of confidence in my abilities as a teacher, coach and mentor here at George Mason,” Simpkins said. “My family and I truly are thankful for his leadership, guidance and friendship, as well as the continued support from our administration. I’m looking forward to continuing to assist in the development of our culture and the holistic growth of our players. We have a terrific group.”
Maurice Joseph Hired as Assistant Coach
An accomplished Division I player and experienced former head coach, Maurice Joseph will be a valuable addition to Paulsen’s staff in 2020-21.
“I have great respect for Maurice, forged over many years,” Paulsen said. “I first met Maurice when he was an assistant at GW and got to know him better when he was the head coach there. His teams always played with great passion, energy and execution, and he always carried himself with a level of professionalism and respect. We’ve become even closer in the past year and I couldn’t be more excited to have him join our staff. He brings a perfect blend of experience and expertise, combined with humility and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help our team.”
In his first season as head coach at George Washington, Joseph guided the team to 20 wins and an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). He joined the staff at GW in 2011 under the direction of Mike Lonergan and helped the Colonials advance to the NCAA Tournament and earn two NIT berths, including the 2016 NIT Championship.
Across his eight seasons at GW – including the last three as head coach – Joseph played a key role in developing three players who went on to earn roster spots in the NBA. He coached Olympian and NBA player Patricio Garino, as well as, Tyler Cavanaugh, who played for the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz, and guard Yuta Watanabe who is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies organization.
A Montreal, Quebec native, Joseph began his collegiate playing career at Michigan State under Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo in 2005 and helped the Spartans make two NCAA Tournament appearances. He transferred to Vermont in 2007 and led the Catamounts to 24 wins in 2009 and 25 wins in 2010, including an America East Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. That season, Joseph was the team’s second-leading scorer (13.9 ppg) while shooting a career-best .374 (77-206) from 3-point range. He also ranked second in the America East in free throw percentage (.848) in 2009-10.
Joseph also had a decorated prep career at Champlain-St. Lambert in Montreal, where as a senior in 2005, he was named Canada’s National Player of the Year. He recently wrapped up his tenure as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson.
“I am thrilled to be joining Coach Paulsen’s staff and the George Mason program,” Joseph said. “I have always admired the toughness and preparedness of his teams in years of coaching against them, so it is an honor to now be able to compete in the A-10 as a Patriot. Thank you to Coach Paulsen and Brad Edwards for this tremendous opportunity. I look forward to serving our student-athletes and joining the George Mason Community!”
Joseph will replace Pete Hutchins on the Mason coaching staff. Hutchins recently accepted the position of director of athletics/head basketball coach at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio.
Johnson Elevated to Assistant Coach
Bryson Johnson has been a part of the Mason staff for four seasons as both an interim assistant coach and graduate manager, while pursuing his doctorate in higher education. He will serve his first full season as an assistant coach in 2020-21.
“Bryson did a phenomenal job throughout this past season as an interim assistant coach,” Paulsen said. “He embraced the challenge of his new role and grew every day. He absolutely loves to be in the gym with our guys and is one of the best on court development coaches I’ve seen. He has charisma, a dynamic personality and is already making significant inroads in our recruiting efforts. He has a bright, bright future ahead of him as a college basketball coach. He was a great player for me at Bucknell and one of the absolute best leaders I’ve had the fortune to coach. I knew at that point he’d be a future star in our profession.”
Johnson was a two-time captain at Bucknell under Paulsen, where he helped lead the Bison to two NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT berth. Johnson was a member of a Bison squad that recorded three straight Patriot League regular season championships and was the winningest class at their time of graduation, posting a 92-41 record. The 11th leading scorer in Bucknell history, Johnson recorded 1,384 career points in his collegiate career, earning Second Team All-League recognition and Patriot League All-Rookie Team honors. Johnson was a two-time recipient of the Malcolm E. Musser Award for Leadership and was presented with the John F. Zeller Award as a senior.
A strong student off the court, Johnson twice earned Capital One Academic All-District Team accolades in addition to being a two-time Academic All Northeast Region and three-time Academic All-League honoree.
Following graduation, Johnson played professionally with the Fraport Skyliners in Germany and spent a year playing in the NBL Canadian Basketball league. While with the Skyliners, Johnson helped the team reach a playoff appearance.
“I’m very excited to be a member of the George Mason men’s basketball staff,” Johnson said. “I have been part of this program for 3+ years and I’ve always appreciated the support and encouragement from everyone within the greater athletics and basketball communities. I appreciate Coach Paulsen for continuing to provide opportunities for me both as a player and a coach. I am fired up to officially start this new role but even more excited to continue to work with the same tremendous people and team here at Mason.”
Paulsen on his 2020-21 Staff
“This trio of coaches will serve as phenomenal mentors and role models to our student-athletes,” Paulsen said. “They are shining examples of how to combine a high-level Division I playing career with a commitment to academics and personal development off the court.”

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