Niagara Associate Vice President for Athletics Simon Gray announced that the school has extended the contract for Purple Eagles men’s basketball head coach Greg Paulus through the 2026-27 season. Paulus Is currently in his fourth season on Monteagle Ridge.
“Not only has Greg raised our level of competitiveness on the court, but the student-athletes in his program are exemplary representatives of the Niagara University mission,” said Gray in a statement. “The men’s basketball program has excelled academically while spending a significant amount of time making our community better. In a short period of time, Greg has established a standard of excellence for the men’s basketball program and the future Is very promising under his leadership.”
This season the Purple and White are off to a 5-5 start, highlighted by a sweep of Central Arkansas and Stetson in the MAAC/ASun Challenge held In Dublin, Ireland in November. Paulus and his staff have Integrated 10 newcomers into a team that has won five of Its last eight contests.
“It is an honor to be the head men’s basketball coach at Niagara University,” said Paulus. “I am humbled by the commitment and support from President Rev. James J. Maher C.M. and Associate VP for Athletics Simon Gray. Our program has made great improvement the past three years, and we will continue to enrich the lives of our student-athletes on and off the court to make Niagara University, the community, and alumni proud.”
Under his tutelage, Paulus has seen his student-athletes receive multiple awards on and off the court. Marcus Hammond was a two-time All-MAAC First Team selection and the program’s first NABC All-District First Team honoree in four years. Nicholas Kratholm was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award in 2021, while also earning a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team. Over the last three seasons, Niagara has placed 10 student-athletes on the MAAC All-Academic Team.
Paulus’ program has also made an impact in the community working with multiple organizations, including Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Niagara Hospice, Central Amherst Little League’s Challenger Division, Candles in the S.U.N. and the Summit Center.
The 2021-22 season saw Niagara once again finish as a top-five team in the MAAC, earning another first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament, the first time an NU coach has led his team to back-to-back byes since 2008-2009. The Purple Eagles ranked second in the MAAC in scoring defense (65.5) and assist/turnover ratio (1.12), and third in 3-point field goal percentage (30.6).
During the 2020-21 season, which was shortened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Purple Eagles led the MAAC in turnover margin (+3.25), assist to turnover ratio (1.19), and averaged the fewest turnovers per game (9.9) en route to the team’s first MAAC semifinal appearance since 2013. Niagara ranked sixth in the nation in fewest turnovers per game and 22nd in turnover margin. Kobi Nwandu and Hammond both received All-MAAC Second Team honors for their preformances on the court. The Purple Eagles had a strong season in the classroom and recorded a program-record 3.45 grade point average (GPA) in the fall 2020 semester. The program was recognized for its outstanding academic year with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Team Academic Excellence Award for the second straight season.
In Paulus’ first season (2019-20), the Purple Eagles surpassed preseason predictions with Paulus having the Purple Eagles contending near the top of the conference all season and winning 10 games against conference opponents. Niagara won a game in the MAAC Tournament for the first time in three years after beating Marist in the first round. The Purple Eagles ranked statistically in the top-25 in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (10.6), in fewest total turnovers (338), in turnover margin (3.3), and 3-point field goal percentage (.372), while leading the MAAC in all four categories. Niagara had the best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.13) in the MAAC as well. Paulus was named the 2019-20 Joe B. Hall recipient, which is awarded annually to the top first-year coach in NCAA Division I basketball.