Stony Brook names new basketball coach

Stony Brook names new basketball coach

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Jeff Boals joins the Seawolves after spending seven seasons as an assistant at Ohio State

Jeff Boals coaches the Ohio State University men's basketball team from the sideline. Photo from Ohio State University

Jeff Boals, who spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State University, has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Stony Brook University.

“[I am] extremely excited to become a part of the Stony Brook community and university,” Boals said. “[I am] grateful for the opportunity that Dr. Stanley and Shawn Heilbron have given me and I look forward to working with the team, building upon the success of last season and continuing it into the future. I can’t wait to get started.”

That success last season was Stony Brook’s first Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship appearance, after an 80-74 victory over the University of Vermont in the America East Championship. With the win, the Seawolves earned their 26th single-season victory — a new Division I program record for the Seawolves. The No. 13 Stony Brook team played No. 4 University of Kentucky in the NCAA tournament’s opening Round of 64 but fell, 85-57.

Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Boals will be officially introduced as the 11th head coach in the program’s history to the Stony Brook community at a press conference on Monday, April 11, in Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

“Jeff Boals will be a great addition to the Stony Brook community,” the Boston Celtics’ player Evan Turner said. “His commitment, passion and knowledge of the game is second to none. I’m excited to see the rise of the Stony Brook basketball program.”

A member of Thad Matta’s staff since 2009, Boals helped guide Ohio State to seven postseason appearances, including six NCAA Tournaments. The Buckeyes, who won or claimed a share of three Big 10 titles, advanced to the Final Four in 2012. Ohio went 193-62 during Boals’ time in Columbus.

“Jeff has done a remarkable job at The Ohio State University in his seven years as a Buckeye — he is certainly ready to be a head coach and has an amazing opportunity at such a fine institution,” Matta said. “Jeff has a great basketball mind and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the great situation that Stony Brook University offers.”

Boals was instrumental in bringing some of the top players in the nation to Ohio State, including current NBA stars Jared Sullinger and D’Angelo Russell, along with Aaron Craft, the all-time steals and assist leader in Ohio State history. He also coached Turner, the 2010 National Player of the Year, during his collegiate career with the Buckeyes.

“My focus during this search was to find the right person who could lead Stony Brook men’s basketball to new heights, and Jeff Boals is the right guy at the right time,” Heilbron said. “He is prepared for this opportunity, which comes at a critical time in our history following our first America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance.”

Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men's basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Prior to Ohio State, Boals spent three seasons at the University of Akron, as the team’s recruiting coordinator while working with players. The Zips advanced to three Mid-American Conference championship games, winning the title in 2009. It was Akron’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1986.

“The first thing about Jeff is that he’s won everywhere he’s been,” said Keith Dambrot, Akron’s men’s basketball coach. “I like to think of Jeff as a diversified coach. He’s a terrific recruiter, understands in-game strategy and is relentless.”

Boals also recruited Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens, an All-freshman performer, and Zeke Marshall, a national recruit.

“Jeff has coached at the highest level as a member of Thad Matta’s staff at Ohio State and he understands what it takes to win,” Heilbron said. “I am excited for our players to learn from him on the floor and, more importantly, he will serve as a strong mentor to our student-athletes in all areas of their lives outside of basketball.”

Boals spent two seasons (2004-06) at Robert Morris University and four years (1999-2003) at Marshall University. In his final season at Robert Morris, the Colonials posted their first winning record in 15 seasons. He also spent a total of four seasons at Division II University of Charleston in two different stints.

A 1995 graduate of Ohio University, Boals was a two-time captain and four-year letterwinner for the Bobcats, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1994. The following year, Ohio University won the Preseason NIT Championship after wins over Ohio State and No. 14 Virginia, as well as George Washington and New Mexico State, at Madison Square Garden.

“Knowing that he is pursuing his dreams to be a head coach is big time,” Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell said. “He has always been super supportive and a major mentor to me and my family throughout my process. P.S. [I] just became a Stony Brook fan.”

—Stony Brook Athletics