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Wyoming men’s basketball assistant Tony Pujol has been hired as the head coach at North Alabama, the school announced Monday. Pujol joined Wyoming prior to the 2016-17 season. He previously was an assistant at Alabama and VCU, where he coached alongside now-Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards and Jeremy Shyatt, who is now an assistant coach at Wyoming.

“Tony is an excellent coach who understands what it takes to win at a high level,” Edwards said in a UNA release. “He will have a tremendous impact on the student-athletes and athletics department at the University of North Alabama, as well as the community of Florence.”

Pujol’s hiring coincided with Edwards’ first season at Wyoming. The Cowboys went 43-28 during the past two seasons, winning the College Basketball Invitational in 2017 and going 18-18 in Mountain West play.

Pujol will be the Lions’ seventh head coach. UNA will be transitioning to Division I in the upcoming season, joining the Atlantic Sun Conference. The program reached five Division II Final Fours and won two national championships at that level. Pujol replaces Bobby Champagne, who went 245-195 in 15 seasons at UNA. Only one Lions head coach has spent fewer than 14 seasons in the position. Pujol will be introduced at a news conference Friday.

“We had an outstanding pool of quality candidates and brought in four very impressive individuals,” UNA athletic director Mark Linder said in the release. “The committee and I met with Tony and knew that he was the right fit at this time for the UNA basketball program. He has a high degree of energy, his preparation is off the charts and he wants to be here.”

Pujol was critical to Wyoming’s signing of high-profile recruit Anthony Mack in late 2016. Mack recently decided to transfer from Wyoming after being sidelined for the 2017-18 season by concussions.

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Follow University of Wyoming athletics reporter Brandon Foster on Twitter @BFoster91

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Managing Editor

Brandon Foster is the Star-Tribune's managing editor. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 as the University of Wyoming sports reporter after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years.

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