When Jim Ferry met with his Long Island basketball players to say goodbye, he said it was one of the most difficult nights of his life.
“It was emotional on both ends,” said Ferry, who will be introduced today as Duquesne's new coach. “There was not one of them that didn't hug me.”
Ferry, 44, is leaving a good situation at Long Island, his employer for the past 10 years and his ticket to the past two NCAA Tournaments. “I said it would have to be a special place for me to leave LIU,” he said Wednesday.
Duquesne, which hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1977, is that special place.
“When I met with (athletic director) Greg Amodio, I got the sense of a family,” Ferry said. “It felt right. Duquesne is a tight-knit, close community in a great conference in a great city.”
Ferry said he rebuilt a Long Island program that was “in shambles, in ashes” when he arrived in 2002. He opened a fertile recruiting avenue to Texas, hoping to find players to run his up-tempo style of play.
The result was two consecutive Northeast Conference championships and 52 victories in two seasons. Asked whether Ferry or any of his assistants had ties to Texas, he laughed and said, “We do now. We are going to come in and do the same thing at Duquesne.”
His first order of business is to meet with 2012 recruits Donovan Jack and Willie Moore, who were recruited by former coach Ron Everhart. Ferry has spoken to them, but he said the players want to meet him before making another commitment to Duquesne.
“Ronnie did a good job of recruiting those guys,” Ferry said. “I want them to come.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7997.
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