Beilein's Uncle, Joe Niland, Dies At Age 89

Former Canisius College basketball player and coach Joe Niland has died at age 89. He is the uncle of West Virginia head coach John Beilein.

Niland died Sunday of natural causes. He had played for Canisius from 1939-42 and served as coach until 1953. He is tied for sixth in wins in the school's history, with 76 in his five years. Niland was inducted into the Canisius Sports Hall of Fame in 1964.

Beilein, currently in New York with his family and unavailable for comment, has said that Niland helped him get into coaching and has been a mentor to him throughout. Joe Niland, Jr., Beilein's cousin, is the current head coach of the University of Mobile (Ala.), where he helped lead the Rams to the NAIA Final Four in 2003-04. Niland Jr.'s younger brother, Dave, is the head basketball coach at Penn State-Behrend College in Erie, PA and his uncle, Tom Niland, coached at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY from 1947-1972 and served as the school's Athletic Director for 45 years, retiring in 1992.

Beilein coached at both LeMoyne and Canisius for a combined 14 years, amassing 252 of his career 544 wins at the two schools. They were his third and fourth coaching stops, respectively, in a career that has seen him coach at seven schools. His 89 wins in five years at Canisius place him just in front of Niland. Beilein's wins rank him in the top 80 all-time in NCAA Division I.

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