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BFS legend Neptune to lead Fordham

Former Blue Pride star leaves Villanova for Rams job

March 31, 2021 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Kyle Neptune knows a thing or two about making history.

The former Brooklyn Friends School basketball legend will be looking to add to his championship resume in his newest role as head coach of the men’s hoops program at Fordham University, a challenge he officially took on Tuesday.

“I want to thank Father McShane, the University trustees, and the Fordham community for placing their trust in me as I look to create a bold new legacy here for men’s basketball,” said Neptune, who came to the historic Bronx school after eight years as an assistant coach at Villanova University.

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During his tenure with the Wildcats, Neptune served more than ably beside head coach Jay Wright, helping the Philadelphia-based program to five Big East Tournament crowns and a pair of national titles in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

“So many times, young guys who are great recruiters get labeled as such,” Wright said of Neptune, who helped put together his dynastic squad. “He is a great recruiter but he’s probably one of the best X-and-O guys we’ve had this early in his career.

“He’s more ready to be a head coach than most young guys X and O-wise. He’s got great character, great leadership skills. I think he’s going to be an outstanding head coach.”

Brooklyn native Kyle Neptune played collegiately at Lehigh University, where he was named team captain as a senior. AP Photo by Elaine Thompson

 

But Neptune’s title-winning pedigree began right here on Pearl Street in the Spring of 2003, when he was the driving force behind arguably the most improbable state title ever captured.

Limited to only nine players, Neptune and the Blue Pride somehow stunned Joakim Noah and Poly Prep in the Athletic Conference of Independent Schools championship, and then topped Buffalo City Honors in Glens Falls, N.Y., to earn the Class-C state championship.

“It’s hard to put into words what this team accomplished,” noted long-time BFS athletic director David Gardella, who co-produced a documentary on the team’s title run in 2013.

“It was an extremely special place to be, an extremely special time and an extremely special group.”

Neptune, who went on to a stellar collegiate career at Lehigh, where he was named a senior captain, is looking to put together a special team of his own on Rose Hill, one that will get Fordham back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992.

The Rams have enjoyed just two winning campaigns since joining the Atlantic-10 Conference in 1995.

“This is Fordham’s time,” the 36-year-old Brooklyn native insisted at his introductory presser. “As a native New Yorker, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be coming home at a moment like this, when Fordham Men’s Basketball is poised to make its mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference and beyond.

“I know this program well and I know its potential to recruit and develop winning young men both on and off the court who will inspire Fordham fans and the entire community.”

Of course, Neptune won’t be alone in his quest to guide the Rams into conference prominence and national contention.

Fordham athletic director Ed Kull and Neptune will partner on an overall strategic mission for the success of Fordham Athletics that goes beyond the quest for men’s basketball championships, a school-issued release noted.

“We take great pride in welcoming Kyle to Fordham Athletics,” said Kull. “Kyle envisions a winning culture for men’s basketball, plans to bring the program to its rightful place on the national collegiate sports stage, and will also work to bring Fordham Athletics and the entire University to new heights.

“I am deeply appreciative for the opportunity to support him as he becomes our head men’s basketball coach and creates an energized winning environment for our students, alumni, fans, and our community.”

Kyle Neptune (far left) made history at the Brooklyn Friends School in 2003, helping the diminutive Pearl Street private school win a Class C State Championship. Photo courtesy of BFS Athletics

 

Neptune, who also worked as an assistant a Niagara and Hofstra, doesn’t seem the least bit daunted by the task of turning a long-dormant program into a potential powerhouse.

“I think the thing that I’ve learned from the places I’ve been is not worrying about yourself, but kind of putting everything into the program,” Neptune told the Philadelphia Enquirer Tuesday. “When people put everything into the program, it’s amazing that you actually get what’s best for you in the end.

“There’s so much you get out of having program and team success. It’s definitely more gratifying but I think it also takes you farther than if you’re just worrying about yourself.”


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