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.


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