Duquesne fires Jim Ferry, starts national search for coaching successor

Jim Ferry 2

Jim Ferry’s Dukes started four underclassmen and lost 12 games by seven points or fewer this season

Duquesne fired men’s basketball coach Jim Ferry after he went 60-97 in five seasons, including 10-22 this season.

The administration didn’t take my advice, that Ferry needs time to build a program. Maybe it was the empty seats at Palumbo Center, a basketball arena that was obsolete as soon as it was built. Maybe it was the dissatisfied donors, who are now going to have to pony up not only for renovations but now to buy out the final two years of Ferry’s contract.

Either way, Duquesne is now looking for its ninth coach since the Dukes last earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament under John Cinicola in 1977. Cinicola (52-56 from 1974-78) was followed by Mike Rice (62-49, ’78-82), Jim Satalin (85-120, ’82-89), John Carroll (73-98, ’89-95), Scott Edgar (29-55, ’95-98), Darelle Porter (23-64, ’98-2001), Danny Nee (42-102, 2001-06), Ron Everhart (99-89, ’06-12) and Ferry.

Under Ferry, the Dukes lost 14 of their final 15 games, blowing an 18-point lead in a 72-71 loss to Saint Louis in the first round of the Atlantic-10 tournament at PPG Paints Arena. That was the final blow for Ferry, even though he started four underclassmen, including two A-10 All-Rookie team picks in guard Mike Lewis II and forward Isiah Mike. Both Lewis and Mike could elect to transfer, and Ferry’s recruits could ask for a release from their letters of intent.

If so, the next coach has a serious rebuilding job at a university that finished last in the A-10. Given that Duquesne has been a coaching graveyard, you would have to wonder whether athletic director Dave Harper can find a coach on the rise or a retread. Pitt thought it would attract an upstart but instead ended up with a veteran in Kevin Stallings, and the Panthers have a better conference, better facilities and better tradition than the Dukes can claim over the past 40 years.

There already has been talk about Duquesne hiring a rising star like Rutgers assistant Brandin Knight, who deserved serious consideration at Pitt. Or a reclamation project like Mike Rice Jr., who still has Pittsburgh ties. A name connected to Harper will be former Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, who previously coached at Dayton.

But, make no mistake, Duquesne is starting over again.

And that’s a mistake the Dukes keep making over and over.

IN THE COURTROOM

Two former Penn State administrators pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the Sandusky sexual assault scandal, writes Deb Erdley.

ON THE HARDWOOD

Crisshawn Clark

Sophomore guard Crisshawn Clark tore the MCL and meniscus in his left knee for the second straight year

Pitt guard Crisshawn Clark , who missed the season with a knee injury, announces that he’s transferring, writes Jerry DiPaola.

Now, the only area teams to make the postseason are…

The Duquesne women’s basketball team will play Drexel in the WNIT, writes Jerry DiPaola.

https://twitter.com/rmucrazies/status/840953433893003264

The Robert Morris women had reason to celebrate twice after drawing Notre Dame — not UConn — in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, writes Jerry DiPaola.

ON THE ICE

Marc-Andre Fleury v Flames

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped six of seven shots in the second period of a 4-3 shootout loss to Calgary

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/841492721932095488

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored but Mark Streit was injured in a shootout loss at Calgary, writes Jeff MacKinnon.

On the Chipped Ice blog, Jonathan Bombulie writes about Connor Sheary joining the 20-goal club.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower is a candidate to replace Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker for the Steelers

https://twitter.com/Jay_Elliott15/status/841462269179486208

The Steelers are hosting free agents, with Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower among the visitors, writes Joe Rutter.

Le'Veon Bell v Ravens

https://twitter.com/L_Bell26/status/841358529084694530

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell underwent surgery to repair the core muscle injury that caused him to leave the AFC Championship game loss in New England, writes Joe Rutter.

IN BRADENTON

Phil Gosselin 2

Phil Gosselin has played five positions and is batting .400 for the Pirates this spring

Pirates newcomer Phil Gosselin is becoming a valuable fill-in, writes Chris Adamski.

Adamski’s breakdown: Braves 7, Pirates 6