Getting To Know Penn State Hoops Interim Head Coach Jim Ferry
Pat Chambers is officially out as Penn State men’s basketball’s head coach.
Chambers resigned Wednesday following an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate conduct. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour confirmed that assistant coach Jim Ferry will take over as the team’s interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.
Ferry began his role as an assistant coach under Chambers in 2017 and was the team’s offensive coordinator during his first three seasons in Happy Valley. In Ferry’s first campaign, the Nittany Lions finished with a 26-13 overall record and won the 2018 NIT Championship.
Along with a historic season, Penn State’s offense impressed under Ferry. The Nittany Lions shot 46.1% during the 2017-18 campaign, the team’s best-ever mark in Big Ten play. Penn State also put up a total 2,915 points, which remains the most the Nittany Lions have ever scored in one season.
During that NIT run, Ferry’s offense averaged 75.6 points per game over the course of five contests, including two games with at least 80 points.
Penn State’s offensive growth only continued last year. While the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nittany Lions were an NCAA Tournament lock thanks to some high-scoring performances. While posting a 21-11 overall record, Penn State averaged a third-best in the Big Ten 75.1 points per game.
Before arriving in Happy Valley, Ferry spent five seasons as head coach at Duquesne. While he didn’t find much success there, finishing with a 60-97 record over five seasons, Ferry made a name for himself as the head coach at Long Island University.
Ferry spent 10 seasons as LIU’s head coach from 2002 to 2012, his most successful campaigns coming in his final two years. The Blackbirds made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons, going 27-6 during the 2010-11 season and 25-9 in 2011-12. LIU had a 16-2 record in Northeast Conference play in both years.
Before that, Ferry held head coaching positions at Plymouth State and Adelphi and worked his way up the basketball coaching ladder as an assistant at Keene State and Bentley. During each of his three seasons at Adelphi, the Panthers made fairly deep runs at the NCAA Division II Tournament.
All of this adds up to roughly 30 years of college basketball coaching experience for Ferry. Barbour stated Wednesday night that the Nittany Lions have confidence in the new head coach, and he will be considered for the permanent position at the season’s end.
“Certainly we’ll do a national search,” Barbour said. “That’s what we’ll always do for head coaches here at Penn State. But I would love to see Coach Ferry have the kind of success, have our program have the kind of success this season that would give Coach Ferry a shot.”
Penn State men’s basketball 2020-21 schedule has yet to be announced, but the NCAA announced earlier this month that the college basketball could open its season as early as November 25.
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