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Villanova’s Baker Dunleavy to be Head Coach at Quinnipiac

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Villanova’s Associate Head Coach is taking the head coaching gig at Quinnipiac.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional Practice Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

A year removed from Villanova's national championship run the Wildcats failed to make it past the Round of 32, losing to #8 seed Wisconsin on March 18th. The first loss of the offseason for Villanova comes in the form of Associate Head Coach Baker Dunleavy. Dunleavy has been hired by Quinnipiac as the next head coach of the Bobcats program, a source with knowledge of the situation told BECB. The official announcement is expected later Monday. Tom Moore was let go on March 7th after 10 seasons and zero appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Moore was 162-146 in his 10 years in Hamden, CT. Other finalists were reported to be Vermont Head Coach John Becker, Xavier assistant Travis Steele and Iona assistant and Quinnipiac alumnus Jared Grasso.

A tweet from ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman indicated the Quinnipiac was willing to nearly double Moore's salary of roughly $500k per year for the right coach. Dunleavy fell into that category, the same source told BECB. No contract details have been released. Villanova is expected to promote from within to fill the staff vacancy.

Quinnipiac joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for the 2013-14 season after spending their first 15 years as a Division I program in the Northeast Conference (NEC). Dunleavy becomes the program's seventh head basketball coach and third since the Bobcats moved from Division II to Division I. Greg Amodio is in his second year as Athletic Director at Quinnipiac after 10 years at Duquesne as AD and 10 years in the Xavier athletic department before that.

The 34 year old Dunleavy is a 2006 graduate of Villanova where he played 28 games in 4 seasons as a player. Those teams went 85-46 during his time in uniform, including a regular season Big East championship, a Sweet 16 appearance and a run to the Elite 8. After one year playing professionally in Holland, Dunleavy spent a few years on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. He joined Jay Wright's staff as a Director of Basketball Operations for the 2009-10 season, spent two seasons as the assistant strength coach before being named an assistant coach in 2012. He has been the Associate Head Coach since September 2013. During Dunleavy’s time on Jay Wright’s staff Villanova went 208-70.

Described as Villanova's "chief of staff" in a Philadelphia Inquirer article from February 2016, Dunleavy comes from a basketball family. His father, Mike Dunleavy Sr, played parts of 11 seasons and coached 17 in the NBA. He is currently the head coach at Tulane. His brother, Mike Jr, is in his 15th season playing in the NBA and his other brother, James, is an NBA player agent.

If Dunleavy is able to retain players with eligibility from last year's team he should inherit a squad that returns their top-4 leading scorers from the 2016-17 season, including MAAC Rookie of the Year Mikey Dixon. Dixon and Peter Kiss led the team in scoring as true freshmen. Their 29.8 points/game combined for the 5th-best freshman duo in all of college basketball last season behind Kentucky (Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox), St. John's (Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett), UCLA, (TJ Leaf, Lonzo Ball) and Michigan State (Miles Bridges, Nick Ward).

John Pierson, the sports anchor for WTNH-TV in New Haven is also reporting that Dunleavy to Quinnipiac is “a done deal.”