Paul Molinari (pronounced “mall-in-are-ee”), a 28-year coaching veteran at the Division I and II levels, is in his second season as an assistant coach on the Youngstown State men’s basketball staff.
During the 2017-18 season, the Penguins set a school record with 266 steals, breaking the 27-year-old record of 255 set in 1990-91. Youngstown State also scored 2,410 points, which rank fifth on the single-season scoring list and is just the fifth time in school history a YSU team has scored more than 2,400 points in a season.
He joined YSU after five seasons (2012-17) as associate head coach on Jerrod Calhoun’s staff at Fairmont State. Molinari will work with all facets of the Penguins program.
During his time at Fairmont State, Molinari helped the Falcons to a five-year record of 124-38, four NCAA Tournament appearances and at least 20 wins each season.
Last season, he helped Fairmont State to the NCAA Division II National Championship game, a school-best record of 34-3, its first conference championship in 21 years with a mark of 21-1 and received its first NCAA Division II No. 1 ranking since 1976. The program also won 30-or-more games for the first time since 1974-75.
Matt Bingaya was named NABC Division II First-Team All-American and earned All-Mountain East Conference First-Team honors.
In 2015-16, the Falcons had two post players earn Mountain East Conference postseason honors and FSU ended the season with a 25-5 overall record, earning a bid to their third NCAA Tournament in four seasons. The Falcons have also recorded four-straight 20-win seasons since Calhoun and Molinari took over the program back in 2012.
Bingaya earned first-team All-MEC honors and was named an all-region performer by both the CCA and the NABC in his first season with the Falcons. Thomas Wimbush also earned second team all-league honors after going over 1,100 points for his career during his senior season.
Three seasons ago, the Falcons earned a bid to the NCAA Atlantic Regional at West Liberty and advanced to the finals of the Mountain East Conference Basketball Tournament. Post players Nick Harney and Wimbush each earned All-MEC honors while Harney was named first team All-Atlantic Region.
In 2013-14, Molinari helped lead the Falcons to their second-consecutive, 20-win season and the Falcons earned a trip to the MEC Semifinals as the fourth seed in the tournament. FSU had three players earn second-team All-MEC honors following the 2013-14 season, including Wimbush, who earned league Freshman of the Year honors.
During the 2012-13 season, Molinari helped lead the Falcons to the biggest single-season turnaround in school history. The squad also made an appearance in the WVIAC Tournament Championship game for the first time in 28 years and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament.
Molinari was recognized by collegeinsider.com as one of the top Mid-Major assistant coaches in Division I. With 343 wins on Division I basketball staffs from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, and 418 victories including his time as a student manager at Villanova, Molinari’s hands-on, student-centered approach has enabled his teams to reach seven NCAA Tournaments and earn four berths in the NIT.
A native of Oneonta, N.Y., Molinari spent nine seasons at Winthrop from 2003-12. Molinari was a part of Gregg Marshall’s staff for five seasons, and was an assistant for Randy Peele the last four years.
In his nine years with the program, Winthrop won the conference tournament title five times earning bids to the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons. In 2006-07, the Eagles finished 29-5, were ranked 22nd in the nation, and upset Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Molinari helped develop Mid-Major All-America center Craig Bradshaw, and also coached several players to all-conference, all-tournament and all-freshman honors.
Molinari spent seven seasons (1996-2003) as an assistant at Cleveland State. In 2000-01 Vikings went 19-13, their best mark in a 14-year span.
From 1994-96, Molinari was an assistant coach on Scott Thompson’s staff at Wichita State. The Shockers won 13 games in his first season, which marked the school’s second-most wins during a seven-year run, and included a 10-4 record at home at Koch Arena.
Prior to that, Molinari spent two seasons as video coordinator at UNLV with Massimino. Led by Isaiah Rider, the fifth overall pick in the 1993 and future NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Runnin’ Rebels went 21-8 in 1992-93 and earned a trip to the NIT.
As an undergraduate at Villanova, Molinari spent four years as a student manager under the direction of Coach Massimino while earning a degree in Operations Management in 1990. During that time he assisted the coaching staff as the Wildcats reached two NCAA Tournaments, including one run to the Elite Eight in 1988, and two NIT berths.
He went on to join Jim McDonald’s staff at Kent State from 1990-91 as a graduate assistant coach where he earned a master’s degree in Sports Administration. He returned to Villanova in the 1991-92 as a graduate assistant as the Wildcats reached the NIT in coach Massimino’s final season.