James Whitford hired as Ball State head basketball coach

Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

The former Arizona assistant takes over a program that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament in more than a decade.

Ball State has hired Arizona assistant James Whitford as its new men's basketball coach, according to a release from the school.

Whitford, 41, has served as the associate head coach under Sean Miller in Tucson for the past two seasons, and has been there for the past four years. He's also served as the program's recruiting coordinator. Before coming to the desert, Whitford was on Miller's staff at Xavier, and also served as an assistant in the MAC at Miami for 11 seasons.

The Cardinals went 15-15 this past season, and fired head coach Billy Taylor after a 76-61 loss to Buffalo in the MAC tournament. Taylor went 84-99 in his six seasons in charge in Muncie. Whitford has a tough job ahead of him, as the Cardinals have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2000, and haven't advanced beyond the opening round since 1990.

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