By Kevin Sweeney
Another Dunleavy is a Division 1 head coach.
Baker Dunleavy, current Villanova associate head coach and son of Tulane head man Mike Dunleavy Sr, is expected to take the head coaching position at Quinnipiac, according to multiple media reports. John Pierson of WTNH in New Haven reports that Dunleavy is in the process of searching for assistant coaches to build his staff. The 34 year old Dunleavy has spent his entire coaching career to this point under Jay Wright on the Villanova staff, so it’s possible that he could bring current and former Villanova assistants with him.
Dunleavy replaces former UConn assistant Tom Moore, who recorded a 162-146 record in 10 seasons at the helm of the Quinnipiac program.
He inherits a Quinnipiac program that coming off a pair of 20+ loss seasons but one with considerable potential. The Bobcats have a great arena at the TD Bank Sports Center and are in a excellent location for recruiting, close to multiple major cities and many elite prep school programs. The school has seen sustained success in both hockey and women’s basketball, and hopes that Dunleavy is the man to bring them to success in men’s basketball. Reports of an up to 800k per year salary for whichever coach was hired demonstrate the program’s commitment to producing a winning product on the hardwood.
Dunleavy’s first job will be retaining the dynamic freshman duo of MAAC Rookie of the Year Mikey Dixon and All-Freshman team selection Peter Kiss. That may be an uphill battle though, as David Borges of the New Haven Register tweeted earlier that “several key players may transfer if either Jared Grasso or Scott Burrell isn’t hired.” Keeping that pairing intact would provide a strong young core for Dunleavy to build around as he looks to create a MAAC contender in Hamden. Without transfers or current signees requesting release from their letter of intent, Quinnipiac has one vacant scholarship for next season if Alain Chigha isn’t awarded an extra year of eligibility. However, I anticipate Dunleavy having multiple scholarships to fill for next season.
In the aftermath of Dunleavy’s hiring, Dylan Fearon of Q30 TV reports that both Dixon and Kiss have requested their release to transfer from Quinnipiac. Each will have 3 years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2017-18 season, should they attend another Division 1 school.
The move puts Dunleavy in a position he couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. After playing for Wright at Villanova, Dunleavy found himself working for Merrill Lynch and Bank of America in institutional sales. However, he took a leap of faith and joined Wright’s staff in 2010 as the Director of Basketball Operations. Now, he has his own program.
Expect Dunleavy to fill his staff with at least one, and possibly more, current and former Villanova staff members. Current Villanova assistant coach Kyle Neptune has previous experience working in the MAAC as an assistant at Niagara, so he could join Dunleavy in Hamden next season.