Bucknell Names Dave Paulsen New Head Coach

May 20th, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Dave Paulsen, a two-time National Coach of the Year who led Williams College to the 2003 Division III national championship, has been selected as the head men’s basketball coach at Bucknell, director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced Tuesday. Paulsen, a 1987 Williams graduate and a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, has coached at every level of college basketball over the last 20 years, has won 68 percent of his games as a head coach, and is considered a highly sought-after consultant on the principles of the motion offense.

Paulsen, 43, comes to Bucknell as its 20th head basketball coach after leading Williams to the top of the Division III ranks. In eight years at Williams, he guided the Ephs to a 170-53 (.762) record, including a combined 61-3 mark in 2002-03 and 2003-04. His team captured the 2003 national championship and was the national runner-up in 2004. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Coach of the Year in both 2003 and 2004, Paulsen’s teams won three NESCAC championships (2003, 2004, 2007) and made four NCAA Tournament appearances (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007). He was a three-time NESCAC Coach of the Year and two-time New England Coach of the Year.

“Bucknell men’s basketball has established a superb record of winning on the court with outstanding young men who are dedicated scholar-athletes,” said Bucknell president Brian C. Mitchell. “Coach Paulsen is precisely the first-class leader we sought for this exceptional program. He knows what it is like to recruit the best student-athletes, to prepare them for success on the national level, and to bring honor and credit to the university in doing so. We are proud to welcome Coach Paulsen into the Bison coaching staff, and look forward to the tremendous successes ahead of him.”

“At the end of a comprehensive national search, it is clear that Dave Paulsen is the coach who can build upon Bucknell’s winning tradition in the men’s basketball program,” said Hardt. “Coach Paulsen has recruited successfully at the Division I level, and he has built a championship program at an academically minded liberal arts institution. Perhaps more impressive than his won-loss ledger is his track record in developing quality student-athletes who represent their school and their community with pride. During the search process, it did not take long to understand just how well-respected Coach Paulsen is across the coaching profession, both as a colleague and as a basketball strategist. I am very excited to welcome Dave and his family to Bucknell. We are eager to facilitate his successful transition and to him beginning his work with the Bison program.”

Prior to his tenure at Williams, Paulsen served as head coach at LeMoyne from 1997-2000 and at St. Lawrence from 1994-97. He compiled a three-year record of 42-39 at LeMoyne, while also serving as the school’s director of NCAA compliance. At St. Lawrence, he posted a 50-28 record in three seasons, including the 1995-96 and 1996-97 campaigns in which the Saints made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, and he was twice named the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year.

In 14 years as a head coach at Williams, LeMoyne and St. Lawrence, Paulsen produced a record of 262-120 (.680).

In 1989-90, Paulsen served as the graduate assistant coach on Steve Fisher’s staff at Michigan while completing his master’s degree in history. Paulsen was part of a Wolverines program that went 23-8 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and he had the opportunity to coach six players who would later become NBA draft picks.

From 1990-94, Paulsen was the senior assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Cleveland State, helping the Vikings to a 64-50 record in four seasons, including a 22-6 record (15-1 Mid-Continent Conference) in 1992-93.

Paulsen graduated from Williams cum laude with departmental honors in history. He was also a member of the Ephs’ varsity basketball team. In 1987, his squad captured the ECAC New England Division III championship.

Upon his return to Williams as head coach, Paulsen also served as an assistant professor of physical education, which is fitting since he is widely regarded as one of college basketball’s most accomplished teachers.

Known as an offensive innovator, Paulsen has produced four acclaimed instructional videos, entitled “Ten Offensive Principles for the Adaptable Motion Offense,” “Motion Offense for Beginners,” “Developing Explosive Perimeter Players,” and “Principles of Effective Post Play.”

Paulsen has been a featured clinician at more than 50 developmental camps and coaches conventions throughout the nation, including the prestigious Nike Championship Basketball Clinics. He was even asked to participate in a pair of clinics in Portugal.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to carry on the tradition of success that has been built at Bucknell through the years,” said Paulsen. “Bucknell has distinguished itself among a very small group of schools that have been able to win games in the NCAA Tournament and yet hold true to the ideal of the scholar-athlete.