Stony Brook made it official Saturday when it formally announced the hiring of Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals as head basketball coach, as Newsday reported Friday. A news conference to introduce Steve Pikiell’s replacement is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Island FCU Arena.
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“We are extremely excited to become part of the Stony Brook community and university,” Boals said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team, building upon the success of last season and continuing into the future. I can’t wait to get started.”
In seven seasons as an assistant to Ohio State head coach Thad Matta, Boals was instrumental in recruiting and developing such prominent players as the Lakers’ DeAngelo Russell and the Celtics’ Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner. The Buckeyes made six NCAA Tournament appearances during that time, including reaching the 2012 Final Four, and received an NIT berth last season.
“As you talk to people about Jeff, you get a real sense he knows how to coach defense and how to scout opponents,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said.
Discussing his reasons for choosing Boals, Heilbron said the new coach plans a “family” atmosphere that fits Stony Brook’s past approach.
“One thing I liked was that he talked a lot about development of players off the court and what they do at Ohio State to help guys with financial planning and job fairs. That’s part of our five-year plan,’’ Heilbron said. “He talked about bringing positive energy to the floor every day and doing things with urgency and toughness. He’s a guy who is going to push [players] on and off the court, but it was important to me, because I love those guys, to find a coach who will love them.”
The announcement of Boals’ hiring included several statements praising his work at Ohio State. Matta said Boals did a “remarkable” job and added, “Jeff has a great basketball mind and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the great situation that Stony Brook offers.”
In a post on Twitter, Sullinger said, “Congrats to Stony Brook and Jeff Boals, who I can say with 100 percent sincerity is a coach who still coaches me to this day.”
Russell added, “He always has been super supportive and a major mentor to me and my family throughout my process. Thanks once again. P.S. Just became a Stony Brook fan.”
Before joining Ohio State in 2009, Boals spent three seasons at Akron, the last as associate head coach under Keith Dambrot, who said, “Jeff’s won everywhere he’s been . . . 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.”
Smart enjoyed a highly successful career at Virginia Commonwealth before moving to Texas for the 2015-16 season.