Farewell Ferry, Hello Perri

April 11, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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LIU Brooklyn Coach Takes Duquesne Job

By John Torenli

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Jim Ferry spent the past decade trying to bring March Madness back to LIU-Brooklyn. Now, it’s Jack Perri’s job to continue the winning legacy his former boss resurrected at the Downtown Brooklyn school.

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After leading the Blackbirds to the Northeast Conference championship in each of the past two seasons, Ferry is moving to Pittsburgh, where he will try to end Duquesne University’s 35-year NCAA Tournament drought.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to coach at Duquesne University,” said the 44-year-old Elmont, N.Y., native, who reportedly received a seven-year deal believed to be worth up to $4.2 million.

Duquesne did not release official terms of the pact after replacing coach Ron Everhart, who went a respectable 99-89 with the Dukes over the previous six seasons but failed to capture a coveted Atlantic 10 title.

“I look forward to the challenge of taking this program to the next level,” said Ferry less than a month after the Blackbirds suffered a season-ending 89-67 loss to top-seeded Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. “I was very impressed by the commitment shown by President [Dr. Charles] Dougherty and Greg Amodio during the interview process. They have a clear vision of where they’d like this program to be. I look forward to making that vision a reality.”

LIU acted swiftly in naming Ferry’s successor. Perri, 36, a seven-year assistant on the Blackbirds’ staff, is now the 13th head coach in the program’s history.

“Over the past seven years, I have grown to love the LIU community,” Perri said. “I cannot put into words just how strongly I feel about this university and how proud I am to lead this team of talented student-athletes. The tradition of LIU-Brooklyn basketball speaks for itself, and I will work tirelessly to ensure that our program is of the highest caliber on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”

Ferry arrived on Flatbush Avenue in 2002 after going 82-11 and advancing to the Division II NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight or Sweet 16 in each of his three seasons at Adelphi College in Garden City, earning NIT/Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Division II Coach of the Year honors following each campaign.A seven-year assistant under Jim Ferry, Jack Perri (center, pointing) was named the 13th coach in LIU-Brooklyn history on Tuesday.

Noted for his tough-as-nails, up-tempo, hard-charging style, Ferry took on the burden of making Blackbirds basketball relevant again after inheriting a team that went 5-22 the previous year.

Though the turnaround project endured its share of disappointments, the end result ended a 14-year NCAA Tournament drought for the school the season before last and backed it up with another stirring campaign this year.

The Blackbirds also won at least 25 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since LIU legend Clair Bee was behind the bench in 1941 and 1942.

Ferry’s recruitment of out-of-state players was mythic, and talented athletes from Texas and Maryland emerged as the backbone of his last two title winners. His overall mark of 150-149 at LIU was bolstered by an eye-opening 52 wins over the past two years, including a pair of sold-out, nationally televised NEC title games on the Blackbirds’ new home court, the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center.

After being a prominent candidate for a Manhattan College coaching job following the Blackbirds’ loss to North Carolina in the second round of the 2011 NCAAs, Ferry remained in Brooklyn for what proved to be his final season.

Perri inherits a team built for another run at the NEC crown as returning seniors like NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd and First-Team All-Conference selection Jamal Olasewere will be eager to prove they can pull a conference championship three-peat without Ferry.

Junior point guard Jason Brickman, who flourished under Ferry, will also be back to man the Blackbirds’ offense, as will senior backcourt mate C.J. Garner.

The LIU administration is banking on that veteran core group to ease Perri’s adjustment to his new, and much more prominent, role.

“We are very fortunate to have someone on staff with such tremendous experience and success throughout his career,” noted LIU Director of Athletics John Suarez. “I have complete faith that Jack will continue to bring the Blackbirds to new heights.”

Winners of 27 consecutive home games entering next season’s opener at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center, the Blackbirds will doubtlessly be picked to finish first again in the NEC. They will also play at least four games a year at Barclays Center.

While Perri is well-stocked with talent for the challenges that lie ahead, Ferry will likely once again find himself in full rebuilding mode as the Dukes lost three of their most prominent players, including star point guard T.J. McConnell, due to transfers following the season.

Duquesne athletic director Greg Amodio noted Ferry’s previous success at orchestrating turnarounds when addressing the Dukes’ sudden lack of firepower entering next season.

“Jim Ferry has been a winner at every level,” said Amodio. “Through a combination of hard work, strong character and outstanding leadership, he experienced unprecedented success at LIU. I look forward to him using those same qualities to make his mark on the Duquesne basketball program. He is an aggressive recruiter whose teams are known for tough, physical play. Jim is the right fit for Duquesne right now.”

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