Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — For the first time in 15 years, there's a face other than Joe Mihalich's at the top of Niagara University men's basketball.
Twelve days after Mihalich — the winningest coach in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history — left to take the helm at Long Island's Hofstra University, NU athletic directory Tom Crowley introduced former LIU Post coach Chris Casey as the 21st head coach in Purple Eagle history.
"Most times coaches get new jobs because they have to clean something up," said Casey, who led LIU Post to two Division II NCAA Tournament appearances in three years. "That is absolutely not the situation here. I'm getting the opportunity to come in to something that can be special. ... (Mihalich) created an atmosphere up here, and to be able to come into that my first year on the job, that's a blessing.
"(Mihalich) established something special here," he added, "and at the very least, we are going to maintain that and we're going to give every effort to take that to another level."
Casey brings with him 27 years of coaching experience at the Division I, II and III levels. He served as an assistant at D-I programs Central Connecticut State, Saint Peter's and St. John's, where he coached Anthony Mason Jr., older brother of NU leading scorer and first-team All-MAAC sophomore Antoine Mason.
"This isn't the first time I've met Antoine," Casey said. "Any time you have some level of familiarity, that helps."
Casey inherits the youngest roster in the MAAC, one that finished 19-14 and won the conference last season. Only one player — center Devon White — will graduate, and the team will return two first-team All-MAAC sophomores (Mason and point guard Juan'ya Green) as well as All-MAAC freshman T.J. Cline.