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Buffalo hires Villanova assistant George Halcovage III as head basketball coach

The long-time assistant under Jay Wright at Villanova heads to Western New York for his first head coaching gig.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Events Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The University at Buffalo announced a hire for head men’s basketball coach on Thursday evening, naming Villanova associate head coach George Halcovage III to the position.

Halcovage replaces the since-departed Jim Whitesell, who was released from his contract on March 11.

“[Halcovage] has experience winning at the highest level, he’s a tenacious recruiter and has the exceptional ability to connect with people,” Buffalo athletic director Mark Alnutt said via press release. “He has a very clear vision of sustained excellence for UB Basketball which will position our program to regularly compete for MAC Championships and perform at a high level in the classroom while developing young men who will be champions in life.”

Buffalo will be Halcovage’s first head coaching stint, having been an assistant at Villanova over the last 15 seasons. He holds his bachelor’s degree from Babson College, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team.

Halcovage was mentored by college basketball icon Jay Wright, hired on as a graduate assistant in 2008 right out of Babson College. After Villanova’s Final Four run in 2009, Halcovage earned a promotion in 2010, attaining the title of video coordinator. Halcovage then worked his way up to director of basketball operations before being tabbed as an assistant coach in 2017 after Villanova’s national title run. Halcovage was named associate head coach in 2021, serving under Fred Neptune this past season.

During his stay on the Villanova staff, the Wildcats claimed two national titles (2016 and 2018), while making the Final Four round of the NCAA Tournament four times. The Wildcats also claimed four-straight regular season championships from 2014-2017 and five postseason tournament championships in that time in the reconfigured Big East Conference. Halcovage had a hand in recruiting and developing 10 current NBA players as well, including Jalen Brunson, Saddiq Bey, Donte DiVicenzo and Josh Hart.

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to be chosen as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach of the University at Buffalo,” Halcovage said via press release. “From the moment my wife, Lizzy, and I arrived in Western New York, it felt like home, and we are beyond excited for this next chapter. I would like to thank President Tripathi, Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt and his wife Kate, as well as the entire search committee for their dedication, commitment, and belief in me as the leader of this program. I am thrilled to be joining the UB family and cannot wait to get to work in Buffalo! Horns Up!”

Halcovage, a native of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is expected to be formally introduced to Buffalo media next week at a time to be determined.