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Steve Pikiell to Rutgers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell watches from the sideline in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2016

After leading Stony Brook to the NCAA tournament this season, Steve Pikiell has been hired as Rutgers' next men's basketball head coach, the school announced on Tuesday.

Steve Politi of NJ.com first reported the news on Saturday, and ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman later confirmed the move.

On Wednesday, Jerry Carino of APP.com reported "Pikiell has told Eddie Jordan's staff that he will be bringing in his own people. Still possible he retains Greg Vetrone though." 

The 48-year-old native of Bristol, Connecticut, spent the past 11 seasons as head coach of the Seawolves and compiled a record of 192-155 during that time.

He led Stony Brook to a 26-7 record this season, including an America East Conference title and the first NCAA tournament berth in school history. Although the Seawolves were blown out 85-57 by an under-seeded Kentucky team, it was a banner year for the program.

The same can't be said for Rutgers, as it went 7-25 under Jordan, a disappointing finish that has become a common occurrence for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers hasn't had a winning season since it went 19-14 in 2005-06, and it hasn't taken part in the March Madness festivities since 1990-91, when Bob Wenzel was at the helm.

While the level of competition in the America East doesn't compare to what Pikiell will be up against in the Big Ten, he comes to Rutgers having won at least 22 games in six of the past seven seasons.

Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv laid out what Pikiell will have to do in order to make Rutgers competitive in one of college basketball's top conferences:

Stony Brook won just four games during Pikiell's first year on the job, but he ultimately turned the program around and led it to a postseason tournament on six occasions.

The former UConn point guard is well aware of what it takes to go from worst to first in the coaching ranks, and if he can apply what he did at Stony Brook to Rutgers, then the Scarlet Knights will have a chance to return to relevancy for the first time in 25 years.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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