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March 2, 2024

Dave Paulsen Going to George Mason – After leading the Bucknell men’s basketball team to four Patriot League regular-season titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT appearances in his seven years as head coach, Dave Paulsen announced Monday that he is departing Bucknell to become the next head coach at George Mason.

“I want to personally thank Dave Paulsen for seven outstanding years as our head men’s basketball coach,” said director of athletics and recreation John Hardt. “Beyond the championships and all of the great memories on the basketball court, Dave has been a terrific mentor to our student-athletes. Under his leadership, the Bucknell men’s basketball program has continued its tradition of excellence. Dave leaves behind a program in great shape with many talented young student-athletes coming back next year, and because of that I am confident that the search to identify our next head coach will attract many strong candidates.”

“I have incredibly mixed feelings,” said Paulsen, who is one of 16 finalists for the 2015 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award. “I am very excited about the opportunity at George Mason, but at the same time I have had a very difficult time telling the team that I was leaving. I have been so blessed to coach these student-athletes at Bucknell, and I was really looking forward to next season with such a great nucleus coming back. I definitely want to thank President Bravman and John Hardt and Tim Pavlechko from the athletic department for the tremendous support. And to everyone at Bucknell and throughout the local community, this has been such a great place to teach and coach and raise a family. We have nothing but the fondest memories of Bucknell and Lewisburg.”

Paulsen earned his third Patriot League Coach of the Year citation this season after leading a young Bison squad to its fourth regular-season crown in the last five years. He departs Bucknell with a 134-94 record in seven seasons. The 134 wins are third-most in program history, and his .588 winning percentage ranks second all-time among those who have coached at least 40 games at Bucknell, trailing only Hall-of-Famer Charlie Woollum’s .590 mark.

Under Paulsen’s watch, Bucknell made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2013, and the Bison played in the NIT in 2012, when they beat Arizona in the first round, and again in 2015. The period from 2011-13 was one of the most successful three-year stretches in program history, when the team posted a 78-25 record and became the first team in Patriot League history to win three straight outright regular-season titles. Those teams were led by center Mike Muscala, who became Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer and is now a member of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

In 2014-15 Bucknell finished 19-15 overall and 13-5 in the Patriot League. After claiming the regular-season title, the Bison were upset by eventual-champion Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals. Bucknell lost a close game (73-67) at top-seeded Temple in the first round of the NIT.

A national search is now underway to select Bucknell’s 21st head men’s basketball coach. The department will not be commenting publicly until the search is complete.

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