Duquesne University has officially pulled the plug on the Jim Ferry era.
The school’s Athletic Director Dave Harper made the announcement today, ending Ferry’s tenure after five years and a 60-94 (.390) overall record as well as a 21-63 (.250) record in Atlantic 10 conference play.
“In consultation with President Gormley, we have decided to make a change in leadership for the men’s basketball program. I would like to thank Jim Ferry for his efforts and work the last five years. Jim is a great person and we wish him the best with his future endeavors. Duquesne’s goal is to be a highly-valued member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Success in men’s basketball is paramount to that strategy. Starting today, we will begin a national search. Until the process is complete, we will not comment further on any aspect of the search.”
Ferry’s best season at Duquesne was 2015-16, in which the team started 9-3 including a win over Penn State, eventually finishing 17-17 and 6-12 in conference.
“I thank Jim Ferry for his service to Duquesne University.” said Ken Gormley, Duquesne University President. “It has been an honor having a chance to work with him. Our Athletic Director, Dave Harper, has a wealth of experience and will lead the search for our next coach. Duquesne University has always been a student-centric institution. In the weeks ahead, we will focus on supporting our student-athletes in men’s basketball at the highest possible level while we seek new leadership for the program.”
After last year fans were unsure what to expect from the Dukes, who lost their two leading scorers from the previous year, but added transfer point guard Tarin Smith from Nebraska. Ferry and his staff also brought in two talented freshman in Mike Lewis II and Isiaha Mike who combined for multiple A-10 Rookie of the Week awards.
However, after another 10-22 (.312) overall record and a 3-13 record in league play, it was hard to argue that the arrow was pointing up after this season.
There were a number of disappointing losses this season, including out of conference losses to Canisuis, Tennessee-Martin, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Robert Morris and conference losses to George Washington, Saint Louis, George Mason and St. Joseph’s. These games were lost by an average margin of 3.62 points per game and were games Duquesne led but lost in the last seconds.
Perhaps the final nail in the coffin occurred on Wednesday when the Dukes held an 18 point second half lead versus a 12-21 St. Louis team before losing on the last shot of the game.
The disappointing loss was almost a microcosm of the 2016-17 season. After five years of mediocre records and dwindling home attendance, the news today didn’t come as a surprise to many. Keep in mind, Ron Everhart was fired with a 99-89 (.527) overall record and 46-50 (.479) record in conference play.
While those numbers are disappointing to Dukes fans, there are reasons for optimism around the program.
As stated earlier, the core of this team has talent and should be led by Lewis and Mike, providing they stay will the program, both of who made the A-10 All-Freshman team. Furthermore, the incoming recruiting class is widely considered the best of the Ferry era with two promising prospects in John Walker and Jamari Wheeler.
The young, talented core coupled with significant renovations to the AJ Palumbo Center should raise the profile of the Duquesne job.
Ferry’s Duquesne season records in chronological order were: 8-22, 13-17, 12-19, 17-17 and 10-22 respectively.