- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The George Washington Colonials didn’t need to look too far for its next basketball coach.

Former assistant Maurice Joseph was named the interim head coach on Tuesday, about 10 days after the school dismissed Mike Lonergan from the position.

Lonergan was fired by the university on Sept. 17 after five seasons and last year’s NIT title.

Joseph has been an assistant coach for the Colonials for the past five seasons under former coach Lonergan. With GW the Colonials went to one NCAA tournament and two National Invitational Tournaments, including winning the 2016 NIT Championship.

“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” Joseph said in a statement. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role. I have the utmost confidence that I will validate the trust that Provost (Forrest) Maltzman and (Director of Athletics) Patrick Nero have placed in me, and that we will deliver a product that makes our students, alumni and fans across the globe proud of GW Basketball and the university.”

Joseph doesn’t have too much time to prepare for his new position. The Colonials open their season Nov. 11 at home against University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Fifth-year senior forward Tyler Cavanaugh returns as the Colonials’ leading scorer at 16.8 points per game. GW will also be led by the return of senior guard Matt Hart and junior forward Yuta Watanabe, who had stellar performances in the Colonials’ August trip to Japan. The Colonials won their four games in Japan by an average margin of 18.3 points, including three over the Japan National Team. Seton Hall transfer guard Jaren Sina will also provide a boost.

“In his five years at GW, Maurice has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university,” Nero said in a statement. “His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year. Our team, basketball staff and athletic department are looking forward to working together for a successful season.”

Joseph played collegiately for two seasons at Michigan State before transferring to Vermont. He led the Catamounts to 24 wins in 2009 and 25 victories, an America East title and NCAA tournament appearance in 2010. He was the team’s second-leading scorer in 2010 at 13.3 points per game and ranked second in the league in free throw percentage. Joseph was the 2005 national high school player of the year in Canada for Champlain-St. Lambert in Montreal. He played professionally in Israel and is the older brother of former Syracuse standout and NBA draftee Kris Joseph.

On Sept. 17, Maltzman said in a statement that Lonergan was no longer the coach and the school “will not tolerate conduct that runs counter to” the principles of inclusion and diversity.

The school began an investigation in July into players’ allegations about Lonergan’s behavior and conduct. Maltzman said the investigation concluded Lonergan “had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values.”

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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