Penn State Behrend head men's basketball coach Dave Niland enters his 26th season guiding the Behrend Lions program. Niland has produced 25 consecutive winning seasons to rank 20th among NCAA Division III programs for winningest teams of the decade. The Lions also have earned an NCAA or ECAC postseason bid in 23 of the past 24 years. Niland is the all-time leader in men's basketball coaching victories with 496 entering this season.
Last season, Behrend won its sixth overall AMCC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the eight time under Niland's direction. The finished with a 23-5 overall record and 14-4 mark in the AMCC, while having three players earn All-Conference honors.
The Lions have advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times and has made 13 appearances in the ECAC South Region Tournament, winning the title in 1998-99 and 2009-10.
Niland has been named the AMCC Coach of the Year seven times— a league and college record. His teams have won seven regular-season league titles and six conference tournament championships. In 2008-09, the men's basketball team forged a record of 18-10 and earned its third ECAC Tournament bid. The previous year, Niland led the Behrend Lions to an impressive 24-5 record, as the team captured the regular-season AMCC championship and the conference tournament before eventually falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Rochester, New York. That squad's defensive prowess was recognized for the second time in four seasons, as Behrend led Division III in scoring defense, limiting the opposition to a measly 54.6 points per game.
During the 2006-07 season, Niland's team posted an impressive 21-8 mark and advanced to the ECAC Southern Region Tournament Championship Game. The year before, coach Niland's program received the Schoenfeld Award, the highest honor the Collegiate Basketball Officials Association (COBA) bestows each year. This coveted award is presented to the team identified as having "the highest degree of sportsmanship, character, and ethics among their players, coaches and spectators."
His 2003-04 team led all of Division III in scoring defense and posted a 22-3 record entering the NCAA Tournament. The 1999-2000 team had the best season in school history, setting the school record for wins with 26 while advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight—the first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance for men's basketball. Also, in 1998-99, his squad earned the ECAC Southern Region Championship.
Niland came to Behrend after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Canisius College and one season at Elmira College. He was a four-year letterman and captain during his senior year as a basketball standout at LeMoyne College. He earned his master's degree in physical education from Canisius and is now also a lecturer in health and physical education at Penn State Behrend.