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  • Colton Pankiewicz

Witherspoon's future kept secret following quarterfinal loss

By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor

For eight years, Reggie Witherspoon has held the title of head coach of the Canisius men's basketball team. As himself, Tre Dinkins and Devean Williams emotionally walked into the post-game press conference following a 76–52 loss to Quinnipiac on Wednesday, the reality of him not being back for a ninth season became real. 

After grabbing his first MAAC Tournament victory since 2019 with a 77–61 win against Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday, Witherspoon’s group failed to have the same result on Wednesday. With just six scholarship players seeing minutes due to injuries (including season-ending ones to Preseason All-Maac selections Tahj Staveskie and Xzavier Long) the Griffs simply ran out of gas midway through the contest. The Bobcats, known as the fastest paced team in the MAAC, ran away with the game, going on a 24–1 run across the first and second halves. From that point on the Griffs played catchup, which they were unable to do, ultimately losing 76–52.

Canisius president Steve Stoute sat curiously in the back of the postgame press conference alongside Athletic Director Bill Maher, while Witherspoon, Dinkins and Williams took questions from the media. Once the two players were allowed to leave, they did, leaving “Spoon”  alone with the media. Having signed a one-year extension in March of last year, Witherspoon has been rumored not to be returning to the program. Things went smoothly up until the point where he was asked about his future. “Not answering it. Talk about the game, ask about Quinnipiac. We’re not talking about future plans,” said Associate Athletic Director of Communications Matt Reitnour. 

If the refusal to answer indicates that Witherspoon won't return, he leaves the program with 108 wins at Canisius, which is tied for the third most in program history. His best season as the Griffs’ coach came in 2017-18, where his team held the No. 2 seed in the tournament, advancing to the semifinal round. Outside of the win column, the 63-year-old is known for his offensive philosophies, specifically regarding his motion offense. 

Witherspoon went 23–38 during his last three years at the helm, claiming his last winning season in 2020-21, going 7–6 in the shortened season.

As a person, Witherspoon has gained praise: “If this is the end for him, the MAAC loses an all-around gentleman and good dude,” said independent college basketball writer Jaden Daly on X. Earlier in the season, Xzavier Long made similar comments about Witherspoon, saying, “[Witherspoon] treats us like family: he cares about his guys while holding us accountable at the same time.”

Photo courtesy of Chloe Breen

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