Mike Iuzzolino and Jim Baron were a winning team in Loretto in the early 1990s.
Now they are going to try to rekindle that success together in Buffalo.
Iuzzolino, the Altoona native, was named the Canisius College men's basketball team's director of basketball operations by Baron on Thursday. Baron had just taken over as the Golden Griffins' head coach on April 2.
"I'm very excited and very honored to be part of his staff,'' said Iuzzolino, who was the associate men's head basketball coach at St. Vincent's the last three seasons. "I know the type of coach he is. But, more importantly, I know the type of person he is, and I know the type of things that he does to make kids become the best student-athletes they can be.
The duo made their mark together at St. Francis University when, in 1990-91, the Baron-coached Red Flash, led by Iuzzolino, won a school-record 24 games, the Northeast Conference and the program's only bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Iuzzolino was an Academic Player of the Year and went on to be drafted by and play two years for the Dallas Mavericks before continuing his playing career in Italy.
Attempts to reach Baron directly on Friday were unsuccessful, but he did release a statement through Canisius' sports information department to announce Iuzzolino's hiring.
"Mike is a tremendous addition to our staff as our director of basketball operations,'' Baron said. "He had a great career playing for me at St. Francis and carried that on to the NBA and then overseas. For as good as he was on the court, he was that good, if not better in the classroom. He was a real student-athlete who can serve as a role model for our guys and I'm proud to be working with him again.''
Iuzzolino said the exact role he'll play on the staff has yet to be ironed out. He is allowed to be on the bench but believes the bulk of his duties probably will be administrative and scouting.
"It will be whatever he needs and whatever Canisius needs to be successful,'' Iuzzolino said.
Iuzzolino's ultimate goal is to become a head coach, and this is a move that he believes will help him eventually achieve that.
"He's been in this business now for 25-plus years, and he's done an amazing job of turning programs around. I just want to learn from him as much as I can. With his success, it will be a great learning experience for me,'' Iuzzolino said of Baron, who also coached at St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island after moving on from St. Francis. "In everything you do in life, you have to be willing to pay your dues. This is another step.
"I don't think anyone can say I'm not committed to getting where I want to be.''
Iuzzolino also was a Division I assistant coach with the Duquesne women.
Iuzzolino said another part of the run to the NCAA Tournament at St. Francis was instrumental in making this move happen: former Red Flash assistant Joe Lombardi, now head men's coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
"His advice was very important in this process. I talked to him a lot about it,'' Iuzzolino said. "He provided a lot of sound advice that was very, very important. I was very fortunate that two of my assistants at St. Francis - Coach [John] Sanow and Coach Lombardi - now are head coaches themselves. They have always given me sound advice.''