BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — George Halcovage is the new University at Buffalo men’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.
Halcovage spent the past 15 seasons working at Villanova, the past two as associate head coach.
“It is an incredible honor and privilege to be chosen as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach of the University at Buffalo,” Halcovage said in a news release. “From the moment my wife, Lizzy, and I arrived in Western New York, it felt like home, and we are beyond excited for this next chapter. I would like to thank President Tripathi, Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt and his wife Kate, as well as the entire search committee for their dedication, commitment, and belief in me as the leader of this program. I am thrilled to be joining the UB family and cannot wait to get to work in Buffalo! Horns Up!”
Halcovage’s hire concluded an 18-day search following UB’s decision to fire Jim Whitesell at the end of his first losing season in four years leading the Bulls. At least three candidates emerged last week from the first round of interviews prior to Halcovage visiting UB on Tuesday. Other candidates included Xavier associate head coach Adam Cohen, a Williamsville North graduate, Northwest Missouri State head coach Ben McCollum, a four-time Division II national champion, and Youngstown State coach Jerrod Calhoun.
“It is an honor for me to announce George Halcovage III as the head coach for our UB men’s basketball program,” UB athletics director Mark Alnutt said in a news release. “George has proven himself as one of the top assistant coaches in collegiate basketball. His knowledge of the game, energy, passion and work ethic allowed him to climb the proverbial ladder and assume the role of associate head coach at Villanova University.
“He has experience winning at the highest level, he’s a tenacious recruiter and has the exceptional ability to connect with people. He has a very clear vision of sustained excellence for UB Basketball which will position our program to regularly compete for MAC Championships and perform at a high level in the classroom while developing young men who will be champions in life.”
Halcovage worked his way up from a graduate assistant position at Villanova starting in 2008. He was the video coordinator when the Wildcats won the national championship in 2016, and was elevated to assistant coach on Jay Wright’s staff for Villanova’s national championship run in 2018.
“George is one of the best coaches we’ve ever had at Villanova,” Wright said in a news release. “He has recruited, developed, and mentored our players with passion. George is a great leader and basketball mind.”
Kyle Neptune, the current Villanova coach and a former Niagara assistant, joined the Wildcats coaching staff in the same season that Halcovage began his graduate assistant job.
“We have grown up together in this business,” Neptune said in a news release. “As a coach he is an outstanding tactician and superb recruiter whose efforts were instrumental in this program’s success. On a personal level, he is a great friend, a brother, who will be an amazing head coach at the University of Buffalo.”
New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, the top player on Villanova’s 2018 championship team, called Halcovage “a great leader and basketball mind,” who is “more than prepared” to lead UB.
“At Villanova he had constant dialogue with his players and was always focused on doing what it took to help me become the best player I could possibly be every single day,” Brunson said in a news release.
Halcovage will be introduced on campus next week.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.