William and Mary will hire George Mason assistant Dane Fischer as its next head men’s basketball coach, as reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.
Fischer, a 2002 graduate of Ithaca College, has been a long-time assistant to current Patriots head coach Dave Paulsen, dating back to 2003. Fischer assisted Paulsen at Williams College in Massachusetts until 2005, when he moved on to Rider. He was on Rider’s staff for six seasons before reconnecting with Paulsen at Bucknell in 2011, helping to coach the Bison to two National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament appearances. When Paulsen was hired as head coach at George Mason, Fischer followed. For the past four years, Fischer acted as Paulsen’s top assistant, heavily involved in recruiting as well as implementing an offensive system.
Fischer will replace Tony Shaver, who helmed the Tribe for 16 seasons, after Shaver was unceremoniously axed following a Colonial Athletic Association tournament quarterfinal loss to Delaware. Shaver is the winningest coach in the history of the College, but never earned a CAA championship despite four appearances in the championship game. Shaver also failed to coach the Tribe to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance, despite reaching the National Invitational Tournament two times.
As soon as Fischer arrives on campus, he will have his hands full. Five players have declared their intent to explore a transfer, while junior forward Nathan Knight has declared for the National Basketball Association Draft. With just five scholarship players currently on the roster, Fischer will have to fill out his roster, either by enticing those players who are considering transfer opportunities to stay or by bringing players in from other schools.
The deal is expected to be announced officially soon by Tribe Athletics.