Siena hires former Syracuse standout Gerry McNamara as its new coach

Gerry McNamara has signed a deal to take over as coach at Siena, deciding to leave Syracuse after two decades as a standout player, assistant and eventually ascending to associate head coach for the Orange.

McNamara's signing was announced by Siena on Friday and makes him a collegiate head coach for the first time. He replaces Siena alum Carmen Maciariello, who was fired after going 68-72 in five seasons at the school — including a 4-28 mark this season.

McNamara has been on the Syracuse staff since 2009 — first as a graduate assistant, then more than a decade as an assistant under Jim Boeheim and last season he became associate head coach for the Orange when Adrian Autry took over as head coach.

The 40-year-old McNamara remains the fourth-leading scorer in Syracuse history behind only Laurence Moten, Derrick Coleman and John Wallace. He started on Syracuse's 2003 national championship team that was led by Carmelo Anthony; McNamara had 18 points, all on 3-pointers, in the Orange's 81-78 win over Kansas in the NCAA title game.

“I am so honored and excited to lead Siena College as the new head men’s basketball coach," McNamara said. "My family and I can’t wait to get started and embrace Siena and the Capital Region.”

He started all 135 games of his playing career at Syracuse and remains the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers made by a wide margin, his total of 400 standing well ahead of Buddy Boeheim (309) and Joseph Girard III (297). McNamara also tops Syracuse’s all-time lists for free-throw percentage (.888) and minutes played (4,799).

He played in what is now called the NBA G League and in Europe before returning to Syracuse to coach.

Siena — a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference — plays its home games in Albany, about 150 miles east of Syracuse.

The tiny school has served as a springboard for coaches many times over the years; Fran McCaffery made three straight NCAA Tournament runs at the school and has been at Iowa for 14 seasons since leaving Siena, Paul Hewitt got his first Division I job at Siena and left after three seasons to take Georgia Tech to the national championship game; Mike Deane was an institution at Siena before leaving for Marquette; new Rice coach Rob Lanier is a former Siena coach as well.

The school has even used the Syracuse-to-Siena path before — former Orange player and assistant Louis Orr spent one season as Siena's head coach in 2000-01, winning a share of that year's regular-season MAAC title before departing for Seton Hall.

“Gerry’s illustrious career and championship pedigree at Syracuse University, paired with his exceptional skills in mentoring young talent, align perfectly with the high expectations and storied tradition of Siena basketball," Siena President Chuck Siefert said. “His appointment is not just about restoring championship success — a standard our fans rightly anticipate — but it also symbolizes Siena’s ascent in the broader collegiate landscape.”

McNamara's strengths include recruiting and that'll be needed to turn things around at Siena. Among the 351 teams with full-fledged Division I membership this season, only DePaul (3-29), Coppin State (2-27), Mississippi Valley (1-30) and Detroit Mercy (1-31) had worse records than the Saints.


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