Jim Ferry officially takes over at Duquesne
PITTSBURGH (AP) Jim Ferry took over an LIU Brooklyn program in 2002 that went 5-22 the previous season.
It was not pretty.
Over the next 10 years, though, he built the Blackbirds into a high-scoring NCAA tournament-caliber team that was a threat to win the Northeast Conference annually.
Duquesne hopes Ferry can do the same for the Dukes in the Atlantic 10.
Ferry, 44, agreed to a seven-year contract on Tuesday, paying $600,000 as a yearly base, to take the reins of the Dukes, who last made the NCAA tournament in 1977.
On Thursday, he was introduced.
"It was very clear they want to be successful and it's very clear they're supporting it to be successful," Ferry said. "I thought it was a pretty easy decision."
Ferry replaces Ron Everhart, who was fired after six seasons and a 99-89 overall record. Everhart took the embattled program to postseason play three times. But questions began to surface last month, when three members of the team - including sophomore point guard T.J. McConnell, the team's best overall player - announced intentions to transfer.
Duquesne athletic director Greg Amodio said NCAA tournament berths are the goal, and he feels Ferry can get the Dukes there quicker than he did the Blackbirds. After all, Duquesne finished .500 or better in Everhart's last five seasons on the bench.
Ferry's best season in his first six at LIU featured a 15-15 finish in 2007-08.
"Jim's done a great job of building that program from the ground up," Amodio said. "We looked at how he does his business and how he wants to build the program. It's not going to take as long as it did to LIU to get it done here, just because the assets we can offer are so much greater."
The Blackbirds won 52 games the past two seasons. Ferry, a native of Elmont, N.Y., led them to the NEC tournament title the past two seasons, and in the last four years, he was 55-17. LIU had a couple of tough draws in the NCAA tournament, losing, 89-67, to Michigan State this year, and dropping a 102-87 decision to North Carolina in 2011.
But Ferry's team ranked second nationally in scoring (81.4 points) last season. And he wants to bring that fast, aggressive game to Duquesne.
It won't be easy. He will, after all, have to replenish a depleted roster. Along with McConnell, a Pittsburgh native who transferred to Arizona, sophomore guard Mike Talley and freshman forward Danny Herrera also were granted releases from the team.
"I don't want anybody on the fence," he said. "We have a bunch of guys that are committed and that's what we're going to go forward with - a bunch of guys that are committed."
Duquesne also hired Brian Nash and Rich Glesmann as assistant coaches and Danny Lawson as the director of basketball operations.
Updated April 12, 2012