George Mason University announced the hiring of Dave Paulsen as the new head coach of the men’s basketball team.
“Dave Paulsen is a proven winner and an outstanding basketball mind,” said Director of Athletics Brad Edwards in the university’s press release. “Over the past five seasons he has led his teams to four post-season appearances, including two NCAA tournament bids. He is a well-respected recruiter and developer of talent, playing a pivotal role of the development of a dynamic current NBA player. Combine all that with his superb academic pedigree, and we have a coach who is a perfect fit to execute our vision for a sustainable elite basketball program.”
Paulsen, who will become the tenth head coach in Mason’s history, was previously head coach at Bucknell University (Pa.) for the past seven seasons where he compiled a 124-92 record.
“I’m tremendously excited and appreciative of the opportunity to coach at George Mason University, where excellence is the emphasis both on the court and in the classroom,” Paulsen said in a university press release. “President Ángel Cabrera and Athletic Director Brad Edwards have an impressive vision for the program. I look forward to getting to work with current players and the incoming freshmen and building a foundation for success.”
Paulsen’s tenure at Bucknell was highlighted by two appearances in the 2011 and 2013 NCAA Tournament — earning a 14-seed and 11-seed, respectively. Those Bucknell team’s never made it beyond their opening games. The other two postseason appearances for Bucknell under Paulsen occurred in 2012 and 2015, when Bucknell reached the National Invitation Tournament.
As a member of the Patriot League, Paulsen led Bucknell to four regular season championships — 2011-2013 and 2015 — as well as two Patriot League tournament crowns in 2011 and 2013.
According to kenpom.com, the leading advanced metrics website for college basketball, Paulsen’s Patriot League champion squads ranked in the top-third in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency which is “an estimate of the offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) a team would have against the average D-I defense.” Those same teams also ranked in the top-third in adjusted defensive efficiency which is “an estimate of the defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) a team would have against the average D-I offense.”
Before coaching at Bucknell, Paulsen coached his alma mater Williams College (Mass.) for eight seasons and led them to a Division III championship in 2003.
Paulsen takes over the vacancy left when Mason fired head coach Paul Hewitt after four seasons in which the Patriots went 66-67.
A formal press conference to introduce Paulsen is expected to take place on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
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