Paulsen leaves University for George Mason

Barbara Bell, Sports Editor

On March 30, The Washington Post announced in an article that was later confirmed by Director of Athletics & Recreation John Hardt that men’s basketball head coach Dave Paulsen had departed the University. He is now the head coach at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., effective immediately.
Hardt expressed his disappointment in seeing Paulsen leave but offered him well wishes on behalf of the entire University athletic community.
 
“We are all disappointed to see Coach Paulsen leave, but we wish him great success at George Mason. Dave’s teams won Patriot League titles in four of the last five years, but more importantly he did it the right way,” Hardt said.
Paulsen, during his seven-year tenure as head coach, led the basketball team to multiple Patriot League regular-season titles, two major NCAA tournament appearances, and two NIT appearances.
Paulsen was named Patriot League Coach of Year this past season, the third time he has been named for the recognition. The Orange and Blue lost in a first-round NIT match-up to Temple in March, but collected a 19-15 season record, thanks in large part to Paulsen’s commitment to working with a young Bison team. He leaves the University with a 134-94 overall record, also with the third-most wins in program history for a head coach.
 
Hardt commented not only on Paulsen’s abilities as a head coach, but also as a high-quality recruiter.
“He recruited quality young men to Bucknell, and he was a popular and well-respected member of the campus and local communities,” Hardt said.
 
Paulsen, along with Associate Head Coach Dane Fischer, notably brought Mike Muscala ’13 into the basketball program. Muscala, a decorated Patriot League Player of the Year, now plays forward for the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Paulsen did not respond to The Bucknellian’s request for a statement, but told Athletic Communications that he has “incredibly mixed feelings” about leaving.
 
“I am very excited about the opportunity at George Mason, but at the same time I have had a very difficult time telling the team that I was leaving. I have been so blessed to coach these student-athletes at Bucknell, and I was really looking forward to next season with such a great nucleus coming back,” Paulsen told Athletic Communications.
 
“Dave leaves behind a program that is prepared and positioned for continued success, and I expect that the opportunity of leading our basketball program will attract a high quality and talented candidate pool,” Hardt said.
 
A national search has begun for a new Orange and Blue head coach, but until the search is complete, the Athletics Department insists that it will not be commenting publicly.
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