Daemen College President Gary A. Olson and Director of Athletics/Special Assistant to the President Bridget E. Niland introduced Mike MacDonald as the sixth head coach in the history of the Daemen men’s basketball program at a news conference held Sept. 16 in Rosary Hall.
“Mike MacDonald brings significant NCAA head coaching experience and a strong commitment to the welfare of student-athletes, both athletically and academically,” Olson said. “He will help us make a strong entry into NCAA Division II membership.”
MacDonald comes to Daemen with 26 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, including 17 as a head coach. He most recently spent eight years leading the men’s basketball team at Medaille College, where he transformed the program into a regional contender at the NCAA Division III level. Inheriting a program that went 4–46 in the two years prior to his arrival, MacDonald’s version of the Mavericks averaged 18 wins a season, while advancing to the postseason six times.
Medaille’s emergence as a Division III power in the Northeast was cemented in the last five seasons, as MacDonald led the Mavericks to more wins than any other Division III team in New York State, while ranking 17th nationally in wins during the same time frame.
MacDonald was named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year on four occasions. He leaves Medaille as the school’s all-time leader in wins (149) and winning percentage (.671).
Prior to his stint at Medaille, MacDonald served as head coach at Canisius College from 1997–2006, guiding the Golden Griffins to 108 wins, which ranks him third in program history for coaching victories. While there, he was one of only five coaches to orchestrate a 20-win season, and was named the 2000–01 Basketball Coaches Association of New York Co-Coach of the Year.
In 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach, MacDonald has achieved a record of 257–225 (.533 winning percentage). Also, 68 of the 69 seniors he has coached have graduated.
Before being elevated to the head coaching post at Canisius, MacDonald had been the Golden Griffins’ top assistant coach under John Beilein. In that role, he helped Canisius reach the 1996 NCAA Tournament in addition to two National Invitation Tournament appearances.
“Coach MacDonald’s background connects well with each part of the model for NCAA Division II athletics,” Niland said. “We are excited to welcome him and his family to the Daemen community.”
“Mike MacDonald’s knowledge of the game and his strong commitment to his student-athletes will no doubt bring success to the basketball program and entire Daemen College community.” – John Beilein Head Men’s Basketball Coach University of Michigan
MacDonald said, “I would like to thank Dr. Olson and Bridget Niland for this opportunity. Daemen has established a strong reputation in Western New York and I’m looking forward as we move to enhancing that reputation for the student-athletes as the college moves toward full NCAA Division II membership. I am excited for the challenges that lie ahead.”
In addition to his coaching accomplishments, MacDonald brings a strong connection to the local community. His teams have been active with a number of community organizations in the greater Buffalo area and beyond, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Blessed Sacrament Athletic Club and Coaches vs. Cancer. MacDonald and several of his players have also worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s office on the Game Changers program, which provides academic and athletic opportunities for inner-city youths during the summer months.