Sunday, March 10, 2013

If Buonaguro Is Out At Siena, Warren Could Be Next

Siena's fans have been advocating a dismissal of third-year men's head coach Mitch Buonaguro from not long after he lost several early games in his first season directing the program.

After three straight NCAA tournament appearances under former coach Fran McCaffery (with Buonaguro as his top assistant), the Saints have a 35-59 record in Buonaguro's three seasons, including an 8-24 ledger this year that is the team's worst since a 6-24 finish to the 2004-05 season that cost then-coach Rob Lanier his job.

Now, "fans" of the program might soon get their wish. It appears that Buonaguro will soon be dismissed as Siena's coach, and that the decision will become official after school athletic director John D'Argenio meets with the coach for a year-end evaluation/review session this coming week.

Two sources confirmed recently that D'Argenio recently flew to Jacksonville, Fla., where another former assistant coach (under Paul Hewitt), Cliff Warren, coaches Jacksonville University's team. It is believed that D'Argenio flew to Florida to meet with Warren, who was also one of the finalists to replace McCaffery two years ago.

Warren spent three seasons as Hewitt's assistant at Siena, one of the best three-year runs (1997-98 through 1999-00) in program history (66-29, that included two national tournament appearances, one in the NCAA's, the other in the NIT).

When Hewitt moved on to Georgia Tech, Warren went along and was an assistant there for five seasons before getting his first opportunity as a Division I head coach at Jacksonville.

Warren's team finished 9-9 in the Atlantic Sun League's regular season and was recently knocked out of the conference's post-season tournament in the quarterfinal round to finish 14-18 overall.

Over his eight seasons his Jacksonville teams have a 115-140 record, but the program was struggling before Warren's arrival. After a 1-26 finish in his first season with with the Dolphins, his teams have had five winning records in the past seven years and have made three trips to national post-season tournaments, twice to the NIT and once to the CIT.

Warren could not be reached for comment. Siena officials claim no decision on Buonaguro's status has yet to be made.

Buonaguro refused to speculate after his team's quarterfinal-round loss to Niagara at the MAAC tournament on Saturday, except to say, "There'll be a decision made by the university. I'm going to continue (as though) I'm the coach. I have a contract through next year, and we'll see what happens. I love Siena, and I want to be there. I love the school and I don't think anyone works harder than me at coaching. This was a year we had a lot of adversity."

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