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Pasternack, who is from New Orleans, replaces Buzz Williams who abruptly resigned last week to take an assistant's coaching position at Marquette. Williams was the second head coach in as many seasons to leave UNO for an assistant's job. Monte Towe left in 2006 for his alma mater NC State.
"I was really torn last year between Buzz and Joe, and it's very rare that you get a chance to correct a mistake," Privateers athletic director Jim Miller said.
Pasternack interviewed after Towe resigned, but UNO went with Williams, who was an assistant at Texas A&M.
Pasternack has always been one of the more energetic assistants and the hope is that he will bring same type of energy to the UNO program.
The Privateers are still recovering two years after Hurricane Katrina.
"I told every candidate last year that it might get worse before it gets better and you better be prepared for it," Miller said. "Obviously the previous head coach wasn't prepared for it. I feel really good about hiring Joe."
Pasternack is 30 years old and was a manager for Bob Knight at Indiana.
The July recruiting period began last Friday.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.