March 26, 2001
KINGSTON, R.I. - Jim Baron, head coach at Atlantic 10 Conference rival St. Bonaventure for the past nine years, was named the 18th head basketball coach in University of Rhode Island history, it was announced by Director of Athletics Ron Petro.
"Jim Baron has been a head coach on the collegiate level for 14 years," Petro said. "He is a well-respected coach and disciplinarian and well-liked by his peers. He has significant national and international recruiting knowledge and has gained experience in post-season play. He has an outstanding record of reviving basketball programs from the ground up at St. Francis (Pa.) and St. Bonaventure."
Baron comes to Rhode Island after a nine-year stint as head coach at his alma mater, St. Bonaventure. He accepted the Bonnies' coaching reigns in 1991. The Bonnies were coming off a 22-62 (.262) record in the previous three seasons and had posted losing records in seven of the previous eight years.
Restoring confidence in Olean, N.Y., Baron revived the dormant program. The rebuilding process included back-to-back seasons of 10-17 in 1992-93 and 1993-94. But Baron energized the Bonnies and the 1994-95 team finished 18-13 and advanced to post-season play for the first time in 11 seasons earning a berth in the NIT. For his efforts, he was voted Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year by his peers.
St. Bonaventure earned three post-season invitations in the past four years while posting a 70-52 (.574) mark. The Bonnies returned to the NIT in 1998 and in 2001 and the NCAA Tournament in 2000. St. Bonaventure finished with an 18-12 mark in 2000-01. Bringing excitement back to the St. Bonaventure campus, the 6,000-seat Reilly Center has been filled to 96 percent capacity the last four years.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native played his scholastic basketball at St. John's Prep and holds the school's single-game scoring record with 49 points. The All-Brooklyn/Queens point guard attended St. Bonaventure where he played for Coach Jim Satalin. The Bonnies posted a 72-38 (.655) worksheet during Baron's playing days. Team co-captain as a senior, Baron led the team in assists and helped lead the Bonnies to the 1977 NIT Championship.
He was named Ideal Bonaventure Student, the highest honor bestowed by the University, when he earned his bachelor's degree in Physical Education in 1977. A Dean's List student, he also received the General Excellence Medal in Physical Education. In 1988, he earned a master's degree in Counseling from St. Bonaventure.
Following graduation, he spent a year as an assistant at Rochester while leading the Rochester Zeniths to the CBA Championship in 1979. He coached one year at Loyola (Md.) before returning to his alma mater for one season as an assistant coach. He served as an assistant coach to Digger Phelps for six seasons, helping lead the Fighting Irish to five post-season appearances.
In 1987, he was named head coach at St. Francis (Pa.) Inheriting a team that had registered six straight losing seasons with a 60-105 (.364) record, he immediately set out to change the fortunes of the Red Flash. After rebuilding seasons of 7-20 and 13-17, the Red Flash improved to 17-10 in 1989-90. In 1990-91, St. Francis posted a school-record for wins, finishing 24-8, won the Northeast Conference regular-season ad tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the only time in school history.
Baron's players have an enviable record in the classroom, as well. The graduation rate of his players at St. Bonaventure is 95 percent and 100 percent at St. Francis (Pa.). He recruited Academic All-American John Paxson and Mike Iuzzolino, the NCAA's 1991 Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
He has achieved success on the international level, coaching the Panamanian National Team for five years. His teams posted a 37-13 (.740) overall record participating in the 1982 Pre-World Cup Tour and World Cup, the 1983 Latin America Championship, the 1987 Pam-An Games and the 1992 Pre-Olympic Games.
Active in the local community, Baron has served as chair of the Final Four's Special Olympics Basketball Clinics. He has also directed the Social Action Program for volunteer work with juveniles in New York. He is married to the former Cindy Imus. The couple has two children: Jimmy Jr. (15) and Billy (11).
Baron replaces Jerry DeGregorio, who resigned after two years as head coach. Rhode Island posted a 7-23 (.233) mark in 2000-01.
He will be paid a base salary of $150,000. Baron may earn added compensation through attendance incentives and bonuses that are part of the five-year contract.
The Jim Baron Bio
James Edward Baron BORN: March 20, 1954
HOMETOWN: Brooklyn, N.Y.
EDUCATION: B.S., St. Bonaventure, 1977
M.S., St. Bonaventure, 1988
PERSONAL: Married to the former Cindy Imus. Children: Jimmy Jr. (15) and Billy (11)
Assistant Coach, Rochester 1978-79 8-13 .381
Assistant Coach, Loyola (Md.) 1979-80 13-12 .520
Assistant Coach, St. Bonaventure 1980-81 14-13 .519
Assistant Coach, Notre Dame 1981-82 10-17 .370 1982-83 19-10 .655 NIT 1983-84 21-12 .636 NIT Finals 1984-85 21-9 .700 NCAA 1985-86 23-6 .793 NCAA 1986-87 24-6 .800 NCAA Sweet 16
Head Coach, St. Francis (Pa.) 1987-88 7-20 .259 1988-89 13-16 .448 1989-90 17-11 .607 1990-91 24- 8 .750 NCAA, NEC Champion 1991-92 13-16 .448 Total 74-71 .510
Head Coach, St. Bonaventure 1992-93 10-17 .370 1993-94 10-17 .370 1994-95 18-13 .581 NIT 2nd round, Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year 1995-96 10-18 .351 1996-97 14-14 .500 1997-98 17-15 .531 NIT 1998-99 14-15 .483 1999-00 21-10 .677 NCAA 2000-01 18-12 .600 NIT Total 132-131 .502
Career Record 206-202 .505