Courtesy of BucknellBison.com
LEWISBURG, Pa. – After guiding the Bucknell men’s basketball program through its winningest three-year stretch in program history, head coach Dave Paulsen signed a new five-year contract today, director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced. Terms of the contract will not be disclosed. The deal runs through the 2017-18 season.
Paulsen just completed his fifth season as head coach at Bucknell. Following a couple of rebuilding years in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Bison posted a 78-24 (.765) record over the last three seasons. That is a school record for most victories in a three-year period, and during that time Bucknell became the first team in Patriot League history to earn three straight outright regular-season titles. The Bison won Patriot League Tournament crowns and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2013, and they defeated top-seeded Arizona in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament in 2012.
In 2012-13, Bucknell won a school-record 28 games against only six losses and garnered a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the second-highest seed in program history. That squad was led by a record-setting senior class that included 6’11” center Mike Muscala, the most decorated player in Bison basketball history, along with all-stars Bryson Johnson and Joe Willman.
“I am excited for the opportunity to serve as the coach at Bucknell University for many years to come,” said Paulsen. “I have never had more fun coaching than I did with this year’s team. I am very honored to be able to work with such a group of coachable and hard-working student-athletes. These players embody the best attributes of Division I basketball. We have enjoyed much success over the past three years, and we will sorely miss our graduating seniors, who have left their deep imprint on this program. I am excited about our returning players and incoming recruits, and I look forward to working with them to help next year’s team reach its fullest potential.”
“The Bucknell men’s basketball program has achieved an incredible amount of success under the leadership of head coach Dave Paulsen, and I am pleased that Dave will be here to continue to grow the storied tradition of Bison Basketball,” said Hardt. “Since his arrival at Bucknell, Dave has shown an unwavering commitment to our scholar-athlete model. In addition, program’s players and coaches have represented themselves and our University in exemplary fashion. The passion and enthusiasm that he brings to work every day have clearly rubbed off on his team and his staff. The landscape of college basketball is rapidly changing, and I look forward to working with Dave through these new and exciting challenges.”
“I am sincerely grateful and humbled by the support that I have received from President Bravman and John Hardt and look forward to working with them to make Bison Basketball the best it can be on the court, in the classroom, and in the community,” Paulsen added. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the greater Bucknell and Lewisburg and surrounding communities for their unwavering support of our team. Finally, I am blessed to work with an outstanding group of assistant coaches who have done an excellent job of teaching, coaching, recruiting and mentoring the players in our program, and I look forward to their continued input and guidance as we continue to strive for excellence.”
In his five years at Bucknell, Paulsen has a 99-65 (.604) record. The 99 wins are fourth-most in program history, while the .604 winning percentage is second-best among those who have coached for at least three years. Including eight seasons at Williams and three each at Le Moyne and St. Lawrence, Paulsen’s career record is now 361-185 (.661).
Paulsen was named Bucknell’s 20th men’s basketball coach on May 20, 2008. A 1987 Williams graduate and a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, Paulsen compiled a 170-53 (.762) record as head coach at his alma mater from 2000-08. He led the Ephs to the Division III national championship in 2002-03 and a national runner-up finish a year later.
Paulsen also spent three seasons as head coach at St. Lawrence, guiding the Saints to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996 and 1997, and three more campaigns at Le Moyne. In 1989-90, Paulsen was a graduate assistant coach on Steve Fisher’s staff at Michigan. He was part of a Wolverines team that went 23-8 and went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. From 1990-94, he was the senior assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Cleveland State, where he helped the Vikings to a 64-50 record, including a 22-6 record (15-1 Mid-Continent Conference) in 1992-93.
Paulsen has another highly regarded recruiting class coming in next season, as the Bison will have to replace three starters and 4,683 points worth of offense with the graduation of the winningest senior class in program history.