Boston — The NCAA has tabbed Niagara University Men’s head coach Greg Paulus as the recipient of the 2019-20 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in NCAA Division I college men’s basketball, the league announced yesterday.
“I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Joe B. Hall Award,” Paulus said on purpleeagles.com. “It is a privilege to represent Niagara University as the head men’s basketball coach. Niagara is a special place with passionate people. I am grateful to our players, coaching staff, and administration for their belief, hard work, and support. I am proud of our student-athletes, team, and program for our growth in year one.”
The Purple Eagles posted a 12-20 record and won ten games against conference opponents. In addition, Paulus, a Syracuse, New York, native, led Niagara to victory in the MAAC Tournament for the first time in three seasons after defeating Marist in the first round.
The Purple Eagles ranked statistically in the top-25 in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (10.6), in the least amount of total turnovers (338), in turnover margin (3.3) and in three-point field goal percentage (.372), while leading the MAAC in all four categories.
Under Paulus’ tutelage, sophomore Marcus Hammond, who averaged a team-best 14.3 points per tilt, enjoyed a career-season en route to earning All-MAAC First Team recognition.
Niagara also excelled in the classroom. The Purple Eagles recorded a program-best 3.18 GPA in the 2019 fall semester and had eight student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Justin Roberts and Steven Levnaic garnered MAAC All-Academic Team honors at the end of the season.
— Jerry Del Priore