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Eddie Biedenbach Comes Back to Asheville as a Member of UNCW

Saturday afternoon will be a homecoming for former UNC Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach, who will come into Kimmel Arena wearing a different shade of blue.

Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

One of the more surprising coaching changes this past offseason was when UNC Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach left the Bulldogs to become an assistant at UNC Wilmington under Buzz Peterson.  Biedenbach coached the Bulldogs from 1996 to 2013 and won three Big South Tournament titles.

The move becomes a little less surprising when you realize is 68 years old and owns a house at Wrightsville Beach, not far from UNCW's campus. All in all, this summer's move is more of early retirement in a Gene Keady type for the Seahawks.

Today Biedenbach will make his return to Asheville for a 4:30 tip-off that can be seen on ESPN3. Biedenbach left the keys to the kingdom to his mentor and former player Nick McDevitt. McDevitt graduated from UNCA in 2001 and has been on the staff ever since.

It has been a baptism by fire of sorts for the first year head coach at Asheville. The Bulldogs started the season playing their first 8 games away from home, including match ups versus Kentucky, Duke, Rhode Island, and Charlotte. Added to the challenges of being a rookie head coach was the departure of Keith Hornsby to LSU and the graduation of leading scorer Jeremy Atkinson.

Despite the uphill battle, the Bulldogs find themselves as 4-7 on the year with solid wins over Charleston and USC Upstate. UNCA could climb all the way back to .500 before conference play begins at Gardner-Webb on January 8. Bolstering the Bulldogs this year has been the phenomenal performance of freshman Andrew Rowsey who is averaging 15.7 points, 2.1 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. Seniors Jaron Lane and D.J. Cunningham are combining for over 23 points per game.

UNC Wilmington is also a team looking to get back to .500, as the Seahawks stand 6-7 on the year. Today's game along with a trip to Chapel Hill next week will be the Seahawks final tune up before conference play tips against James Madison on January 4.

Expect a great ovation for Coach Biedenbach today. He built the Bulldogs in a nationally recognizable program, despite one of the smallest budgets and level of resources in the country. The new Kimmel Arena, where today's game will take place, would likely not be standing today if it wasn't for Biedenbach.