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Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon will not return next season

Mar 15, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

Reggie Witherspoon AP

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After 14 seasons as head coach of the University at Buffalo basketball team, Reggie Witherspoon has been relieved of his duties. UB athletics director Danny White announced the decision in a press release on Friday afternoon.

“After much consideration, we have determined that a change in leadership for our men’s basketball program is necessary,” White said in the release. “Coach Witherspoon has led this program with character and integrity for the past 14 years and we are grateful for his service to our institution.

“This was a very difficult decision because I understand the impact Coach Witherspoon has made to our University and community. To be sure, our program is in a much stronger position than when Reggie and his staff took over.”

In 14 seasons at the MAC school Witherspoon tallied a record of 198-228, with the Bulls finishing this season with an overall record of 14-20 (7-9 MAC East). Buffalo fell to Kent State in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament Thursday night, and the Bulls’ biggest win of the season came on March 2 when they handed Akron its first conference loss of the season (81-67).

With forwards Javon McCrea and Will Regan in the rotation there was some optimism entering the 2012-13 campaign, as Buffalo managed to win 20 games or more in three of the prior four seasons. But the Bulls were unable to build on that momentum, ultimately leading White to decide that the school needs to go in another direction.

Of their top five scorers from this season only one is out of eligibility: guard Tony Watson II (11.3 ppg). With the right hire (meaning that the new head coach would keep the roster intact), this is a group capable of improving the win total in 2013-14.

From a recruiting standpoint Buffalo currently doesn’t have any commitments, be it verbal or signed (early signing period), in the 2013 class.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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