Fordham Close to Naming New Assistant Coach

Charles Costello@@CFCostelloContributor IMay 15, 2014

Feb. 6, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Fordham Rams head coach Tom Pecora reacts on the sidelines against the Saint Louis Billikens during the first half at Rose Hill Gym. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Fordham's search for an assistant basketball coach will come to a close by Friday, Bleacher Report has learned.

The school is expected to announce by then a replacement for David Duke, who left two weeks ago to become the new head coach at Adelphi.

Tom Pecora, Fordham's head coach, said on Wednesday that he expects to name an assistant by Friday.

"I think that's something that'll probably come together in the next 48 hours or so," Pecora said. "I've spoken to a number of people about the position."

Pecora said coaches from all levels—from CYO to former Division I head coaches—have reached out to Fordham over the past two weeks to express interest in the position.

"It's interesting in college basketball the number of people that apply for jobs, and then the gamut—from people who are incredibly qualified to people who aren't qualified at all," he said. "It speaks to the passion people have for the game of basketball."

Narrowing down candidates and eventually choosing the right one is a process, Pecora said.

"We contact everyone who applies. Obviously, I speak to people that I believe are serious candidates.

"And then you have to see if it's a good fit. People very often don't realize what salaries are like in assistant coaching. Then you talk to them about [hours].

"It's a process, but we've got some interesting candidates."

As far as what he's looking for in an assistant, Pecora used a word that's tossed around frequently in sports.

"Chemistry with a team is very important; so is chemistry with a staff," he said. 

There are two ways for Fordham to go about this: hire from within or choose from the pool of candidates who have applied.

"The first thing you do is look in-house," Pecora said before adding it's "not a priority."

"Everyone has an opinion about what we should do and how we should do it," he said. "I'm huge on loyalty."

In many ways, Fordham is dealing with a special set of circumstances. This is not an established program looking to stay on top. This is a team that's won 39 games in six years, one that's struggled for 19 years trying to compete in a top conference. It makes finding the right fit that much more important.

"This is a boutique shop. This is not Goldman Sachs," Pecora said. "Some teams in the A-10 are.

"We have to be very creative in the way we do things. We have to make sure that going into a year like this especially—it's a special year—that we have a good fit."

Pecora's been given autonomy here, as you would expect. He gets to pick his staff.

"That's the way it's got to be if you're going to be successful," he said. "I obviously spoke to [Fordham athletic director David Roach] about it and let him know what my thoughts were and how we were going to go about it."

When he makes his decision, it won't be an easy one—neither for him nor for those turned away.

"It's challenging," Pecora said. "I have some dear friends that are qualified people that are probably not going to get this job. It would make it easy for me, but it wouldn't be the best thing for Fordham.

"What I have to do is what's best for Fordham and for this basketball team."

Pecora insisted that not having a full staff did not interfere in any way with the team's postseason plans, including recruiting.

He expressed confidence in his current assistants, including Tom Parrotta and John Morton, and also talked about how happy he was for Duke, who took over at Pecora's alma mater. 

"David did a great job here for us," Pecora said. "It was a great opportunity for him. David's had other opportunities. He doesn't want to leave New York. Like myself, he's a New York guy.

"They've had a lot of coaches move on to really good jobs going through there. And he gets to be a head coach, do it at home, cut his teeth as the head coach on a good level in the Northeast-10. All positive in that sense."

Pecora's focus, however, is on his Rams. By Friday, we'll know a little more about what they'll look like going forward.

"I've narrowed it down to a few candidates, and then I'll make the decision from there," he said.

Quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.

Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @CFCostello.


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