After 11 seasons as the Stony Brook Seawolves' Head Coach, Steve Pikiell headed over the Hudson to greener pastures at Rutgers University, leaving the job position open. While some Seawolves fans expressed interest in keeping the job internal, the job ultimately landed with Ohio State's assistant coach, Jeff Boals.
"I'm very excited for Jeff, his family, and Stony Brook University. Jeff has done a remarkable job at the Ohio State University in his seven years as a Buckeye." Thad Matta, Ohio State's Head Coach said about his departure from the program, "He is certainly ready to be a head coach and has an amazing opportunity at such a fine institution. Jeff has a great basketball mind and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the great situation that Stony Brook University offers."
In his last seven seasons as assistant coach at Ohio State, he's helped guide the team to seven post season appearances, six NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the final four, and either won or shared the Big 10 titles. The Buckeyes went 193-62 during his time there.
It's clear that Boals is ready to start his mark as a head coach, and brings his incredible defensive knowledge to the Stony Brook team. According to The Columbus Dispatch Buckeyextra, Stony Brook's Athletic Director, Shawn Heilbron boasts he's one of the best defensive minds inn college basketball. And with their best defensive player to walk the courts in Seawolf territory in the past few years graduated, they're going to need all the help they can get on the defensive end.
With the graduation of Jameel Warney and Carson Puriefoy, two of the best duos I've seen in the America East in the eight years I've been involved with the conference, it's going to be a big blow to the Seawolves both defensively and more importantly, offensively.
Brian Sekunda, Lucas Woodhouse and Ahmad Walker are going to have to step up their game a bit more to make up for the loss of the three-time America East Player of the Year. While not completely lost on the defensive end, they do have Tyrell Strudivant who mimics Warney in both size and presence on the court. Entering his junior year, he will most likely fill that gap that Warney has left, but averaging only 11.8 minutes per game last season, it's going to be a tough transition if they rely on him full-time.
But with Boals' experience as the Head Defensive Coach the last few years at Ohio State, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
Many people have spoken up and have great things to say about Boals, including Akron's Head Coach, Keith Dambrot, "The first thing about Jeff is that he's won everywhere he's been. I like to think of Jeff as a diversified coach. He's a terrific recruiter, understands in-game strategy and is relentless. He has a chip on his shoulder like one of my former assistants, Shaka Smart."
While it will be a while before we know if Boals can compete with the likes of Shaka Smart, he's definitely going to be a fresh perspective in the America East and I know I'm looking forward to see what he can do with the program.