Niagara head coach Chris Casey said that he is “very far” in assembling a coaching staff, he appears to have every spot filled on his coaching staff a few days into the job.
Casey said that he will be filling out the majority of his coaching staff at Niagara with assistants that were with him at Division II LIU Post. Assistant coaches Mark Rybczyk and Kareem Brown will be hired in the same capacity at Niagara. Rybczyk has been the lead assistant at LIU Post during Casey’s tenure. LIU Post assistant coach R.J. Rutledge will join the staff as the director of basketball operations.
“I’m going to bring the guys with me from LIU Post,” Casey said. “They’ve worked very hard and they’ve produced. They’re very loyal guys and I’m very comfortable with them.”
They will be joined by former Marist assistant coach Will Lanier who joins Casey’s staff as an assistant coach. Lanier was part of Chuck Martin’s staff at Marist for the last five seasons before being let go when Martin was fired on March 14. Lanier has been an assistant coach at Marist for the past three seasons after spending his first two seasons as director of basketball operations.
Lanier and Casey worked together at St. John’s under head coach Norm Roberts, Casey was an assistant coach for four seasons under Roberts after serving as director of basketball operations for two years. Lanier worked as a graduate assistant on Roberts’ staff for four before becoming head team manager in the summer of 2006.
“The most important thing to me is working with guys that are loyal and can get on the same page with and have basketball knowledge,” Casey said. “They’re not afraid to have open discussion about what we’re doing and they can recruit, roll up their sleeves and turn up every stone and try to find players because that’s the lifeblood of the program.”
“Those qualities were important to me in selecting a staff and I had guys right in front of me that fit that bill. There was no reason to look any further.”
Casey said the last few days he has fielded a lot of calls from around the industry about his assistant coaching positions, but he knew he wanted to be loyal to his staff at LIU Post.
“That’s the hard part about it,” Casey said. “You do get a lot of calls and you get calls from some very good people that you know. It’s hard to tell good people no, but I want to stay loyal to the guys that have been loyal to me.”
As head coach at LIU Post Casey went 62-25 with two straight 20 win seasons in three years at the program. Casey was hired as the 21st head coach in the history of the Niagara program on April 22.
Ryan Restivo covers Stony Brook, Hofstra and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo.