Aug. 3, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Navy head men's basketball coach Billy Lange announced Tuesday that Greg Paulus has joined the program's staff as an assistant coach. Paulus comes to Navy after a stellar four-year career at Duke on the hardwood (2006-09) and after spending last year playing quarterback at Syracuse University while pursuing his master's degree.
"At the end of the day, the recommendations for Greg, his desire to be a collegiate basketball coach and his affinity and knowledge of the Naval Academy from having one of his best friends play lacrosse here (Andy Tormey -- both went to Christian Brother's Academy) made it a no-brainer for me. It was not something that I had to think really hard about. I interviewed him and thought it went great, then talked to his references and talked to Coach Krzyzewski and they all had nothing but unbelievable things to say about his work ethic, his unselfishness and his ability to communicate and inspire young people," said Lange, who enters his seventh year at Navy. "This is a great shot in the arm for Navy Basketball. Individual development is key here at the Naval Academy. Our players have to get better, because we aren't getting the finished product when they walk in the door. Greg's ability to communicate and teach on the basketball floor after what he has done as a player is priceless. There is no experience that can match that or a price tag you can put on it. He is going to make an immediate impact and will raise the bar for our staff and players. With Greg coming from a program like Duke can only be a positive for our program. We are very excited to have Greg joining our staff."
"I am very excited to be a part of the Naval Academy and the Navy Basketball family. I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Lange has given me and am looking forward to helping the Naval Academy and the basketball program in any way I can," said Paulus. "I have always wanted to get into coaching and to get my start at such a special institution like the Naval Academy is very rewarding for me. I am very fortunate to be able to work with the caliber of student-athlete that the Naval Academy has to offer."
From 2006-09, Paulus played on four NCAA Tournament teams at Duke under legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski, while being a three-year starter. At Duke, Paulus helped the Blue Devils to a 112-28 record while leading the team in assists in 2006, 2007 and 2008. As a freshman in 2006, he was a member of the ACC All-Freshman first team, the ACC All-Tournament second team and a second-team freshman All-American while averaging 6.7 ppg and 5.2 apg. He remains one of just four freshmen in ACC history to lead the league in assists, joining North Carolina's Ed Cota (1997), Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson (1990) and current American coach and former Virginia standout Jeff Jones (1979) as freshman to accomplish the feat.
"Having the opportunity to play under Coach Krzyzewski at Duke and Coach Marrone at Syracuse will only benefit me here," said Paulus. "Competing for those two coaches has made me a better person and I am grateful for the opportunities that they have given me."
"Greg is a terrific young man with a great heart. He absorbs everything going on around him. Throughout his career at Duke, he battled injuries and accepted various roles and responsibilities. Greg maintained a positive attitude at all times," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I've always believed that Greg would make an excellent coach since he was an accomplished player in multiple sports and a tough competitor, while possessing a tremendous will to win. In addition to those things, he understands the game at a high level.
"Navy presents Greg with an opportunity to start out coaching at an amazing school with a national recruiting base. I think he will add a lot to Navy and I am very happy for him. He was born to be a basketball coach. More importantly, given Greg's character, Navy is getting a quality young man who will represent the institution favorably in the years to come," added Krzyzewski.
Coach Krzyzewski is a 1969 Army graduate and Paulus said that Coach K's affinity for the service academies has been passed down to his players.
"He always references playing and coaching at a service academy and it really helped make him who he is today," added Paulus. "He is very excited for me to have this opportunity and he was very positive about me getting this kind of experience at a service academy."
"He really fits our program very well and did a ton of great things on the basketball floor. He obviously comes from a winning program at Duke and knows what it takes to be successful. He is young and energetic and that will translate well to our team," said Navy senior point guard O.J. Avworo. "It's easier to communicate player to player, and being a year removed, he knows how to communicate like that. I look forward to having a great relationship with him and he will make me a better player and better coach on the floor."
Paulus replaces Joe Burke, who was named the head coach at Skidmore College in late June.
"We are sorry to see Joe go. He spent six years here with me and has done a great job in every facet here -- player development, recruiting, basketball operations, alumni relations, community relations," said Lange. "Because I got my start in high school and Division III, I am always pushing our guys to become a small-college head coach. That experience is invaluable. He is going to do well, and I am very happy for Joe. To be hired as a head coach and to be a leader of young men is a great statement on the person's character, and Joe will do an awesome job at Skidmore."
Paulus spent the 2009-10 year at Syracuse as the starting quarterback on the Orange football team, throwing for 2,024 yards and 13 touchdowns in 12 games while helping the Orange to a 4-8 record, matching their best record since the 2004 season. It was Paulus' first action on the football field since being named the 2005 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year. He graduated with his master's degree in communications from the Newhouse Television, Radio and Film department last May. He was named to the 2009 BIG EAST All-Academic Team as being recognized as a student-athletes who have completed at least two semesters with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
"He could have gone a lot of different directions out of here and been successful in every single one of them. A lot of times as coaches, we say things such as `I wouldn't mind having a son like him'. With Greg, I mean it. He played four years of basketball at Duke and joined our football program and in two months, is voted team captain. To come in here and win over the team like that says a ton about the type of person and leader he is," said Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone. "What's great about Greg is that he can manage so many areas and be successful in all of them. He is extremely competitive, has excellent knowledge about the game and can lead people with the best of them. He is going to be able to talk to people about balancing faith, academics, sports, social life and family. He is the total package and will be an extremely valuable asset in whatever direction he goes. The players that he will work with can really look up to him and I am very pleased that he is going into coaching. The Naval Academy is getting a great coach, person and leader."
Paulus was invited to the New Orleans Saints minicamp in both May and June, but was not offered a contract. He then went to work as an intern at Foxsports.com and spent some time at the LeBron James Skills Academy, where he made a big impression on the collegiate coaches in attendance. Prior to working the Lebron James camps, Paulus worked the Navy Basketball Camps this past summer.
Paulus also excelled in the classroom, where he was a three-time member of the ACC All-Academic Team and was a two-time third-team academic All-American selection, graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science with a certificate in business in 2009.
He arrived at Duke following a star-studded scholastic career at Christian Brother's Academy in upstate New York, where he was one of the nation's top high school football and basketball players, receiving scholarship offers from Miami and Notre Dame (in football) and basketball offers from Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Georgetown and Florida. He was named the national Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year in 2005, joining Lebron James and Dwight Howard as previous winners.
Navy will open the season on Nov. 8 at Texas in the 2KSports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The Midshipmen will play 13 regular-season home games in Alumni Hall in Annapolis. Full season packages start as low as $70 for adults and only $35 for kids ages 18 and under. Season-ticket holders also have the right to park in the Alumni Hall lot on gamedays. To secure your season tickets today, call the Navy Ticket Office at 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #