What was likely the most-followed search for an assistant coach in conference history Siena program director Mitch Buonaguro announced earlier this week that he decided on Tobin Anderson, who will give up his position as head coach at Division III Hamilton College, to join the Saints' staff.
This hoopscribe rarely blogs about conference transactions involving assistant coaches, but the Siena search brought more candidates, including more candidates who had previously been Division I head coaches, than any in my memory.
The search went on for nearly six weeks and was noteable because Buonaguro had indicated he was looking for candidates with previous experience as a head coach.
The search brought at least 70 applicants and some former Division I head coaches including some very familiar within the Siena community.
Most noteable among those was Mike Deane, who had actually been a successful Siena head coach from 1986 through 1984. Deane took Siena to its first NCAA tournament and to two NITs. He left Siena to coach at Marquette, then at Lamar and then at Wagner.
Deane was fired at Wagner after the 2009-10 season and has been living in Amsterdam, N.Y., about 30 miles west of Siena's campus, since then
Other candidates included former Siena assistants Matt Kilcullen and Brian Nash and recently fired Colgate coach Emmett Davis.
Kilcullen, a Siena assistant under John Griffin in the early 1980s, went on to be a head coach at Jackson, Western Kentucky and Norh Florida, was fired at North Florida after the 2008-09 season but has remained there as an assistant athletic director; Nash, a Siena assistant for one season under Louis Orr (2000-01), had been the head coach at St. Francis (N.Y.) for five seasons before abruptly resigning from that position after the 2009-10 season. And, Davis has been the head coach at Colgate for the past 13 years.
Clearly, though, Buonaguro felt more confortable with Anderson, who had a 118-63 won-loss record at Hamilton College.
"I'm really excited with the hire," Buonaguro said. "Tobin brings extraordinary experience to the job. I have known him for the last 20 years, and admired his knowledge and work ethic. He's a first class person and coach. I'm confident he will help us bring Siena basketball back to the top of the MAAC."
At Hamilton, Anderson's teams won its Liberty League regular-season title in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 in 2006 after claiming the Tournament Championship.
"I'm obviously very excited to be a part of a program with the tradition Siena has," Anderson said. "I'm really looking forward to working for Mitch. He's a great guy - a person I really respect and trust. I can't wait to get started and help build upon the success this program has had."
Prior to his time at Hamilton, Anderson served as head coach at Clarkson University in Potsdam from 1999-2004. He enjoyed the best five-year record in the history of Clarkson basketball (67-66), leading the program to its first three postseason bids. His 2002 team enjoyed the biggest win-percentage improvement in all of Division III, and the 2004 squad won the Liberty League and advanced to the ECAC Semifinals.
Tobin got his start in coaching as an assistant coach at Clarkson in 1996-97 and at LeMoyne College from 1997-99. He has been very active in the Five-Star and Hoop Group Elite summer camp programs, serving as an instructor and guest lecturer for the past 13 years.