UMKC

UMKC picks Northwestern assistant to replace Kareem Richardson as basketball coach

Wright State head coach Billy Donlon gestures to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentuckyon  Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 78-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
Wright State head coach Billy Donlon gestures to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentuckyon Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 78-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp) AP

Where did the UMKC men’s basketball program, which has never been to the NCAA Tournament, look to for its next coaching hire?

Another school that until recently had the same problem.

The Kangaroos plan to hire Northwestern assistant coach Billy Donlon to replace Kareem Richardson, The Star has learned. The hire is pending approval by the University of Missouri Board of Curators during a closed meeting Wednesday. Donlon is expected to be introduced on Friday.

Donlon, 42, hails from the Chicago area and has spent the last two seasons with the Wildcats under head coach and Duke alum Chris Collins. Donlon previously was an assistant at Michigan, Wright State and UNC Wilmington, his alma mater, among others. Northwestern made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2017.

His lone head coaching stint was at Wright State from 2010-16, where he was 109-94 in six seasons. Donlon had three seasons in which he won 20 or more games and led the Raiders to the CBI semifinals in 2013 after the team was picked last in the Horizon League. As a result, he was chosen the conference’s coach of the year.

Known as a defensive-minded coach, Donlon’s defense ranked No. 16 nationally in 2013. As an assistant at Wright State and UNC Wilmington, Donlon served under current Clemson coach Brad Brownell, who led the Raiders to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007 and has since turned Clemson into a respectable ACC program.

Donlon is leaving behind a lot of ties at Northwestern, as he shared the bench with his high school coach Brian James, who coached him at Glenbrook North High School, the same school Wildcats coach Collins attended. Donlon’s father, Bill Sr., was also a college coach and served as an assistant at Northwestern from 1987-93 and was an assistant at Providence for Rick Pitino from 1982-87.

Richardson was 75-118 in six seasons running the Roos’ program before being fired on March 17. He led the UMKC men to their first postseason victory outside of a conference tournament, going 1-1 in the 2017 CBI.

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