Canisius hires Reggie Witherspoon as basketball coach

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Reggie Witherspoon is returning home to Buffalo to coach the Canisius College basketball team.

He signed a five-year contract and replaces Jim Baron, who retired May 20. A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday.

"Reggie brings with him a proven record of building strong basketball teams and developing young men. He is highly respected as both a man and as a basketball coach," athletic director Bill Maher said in a statement. "I had the opportunity to work directly with Reggie for six years, and having known him for over 16 years, I am confident in his abilities and his fit for Canisius."

Witherspoon spent last season as an assistant at Chattanooga. He is from Buffalo and spent more than 13 seasons coaching the University at Buffalo. He had a 198-228 career record and was a two-time Mid-American Conference coach of the year before being fired after the 2012-13 season.

"I am excited to take over at Canisius on a number of levels," Witherspoon said in a statement. "Having grown up here in the area, I remember going to see a lot of Canisius games as a kid, and then as I grew older, I started to become friends with guys that played or were playing at Canisius.

"The College has such a great academic reputation, and I know the school's alumni base and fans are dedicated and passionate. ... I am really looking forward to building on the long history of the men's basketball program."

He takes over a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team that had struggled before becoming competitive during Baron's four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.