After two seasons that included upset wins over St. John's, Georgia Tech and Harvard, Tom Pecora gets well-deserved contract extension at Fordham that will keep the affable coach at Rose Hill through 2017. (Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)
Hardly anyone thought of Fordham University as a winner two years ago. Tom Pecora changed that just two months into his tenure at Rose Hill with a dramatic comeback victory over St. John's after the Rams trailed by 21 points midway through the second half.
Today, Pecora's commitment to excellence and winning was backed by his employer, as Fordham gave him a contract extension that runs through the 2016-17 season. The blue-collar Pecora may only have a 17-40 record through his first two campaigns in the Bronx, but his vision for the future is as infectious and bright as his magnetic personality.
"I'm grateful to the university for making this commitment to myself, my staff and my family," Pecora said. "Since our first day at Fordham, we have been doing everything possible to get this tradition-rich program back to where it should be." Athletic director Frank McLaughlin, who was recently promoted to become Fordham's athletic director emeritus, had this to say: "Tom Pecora has done a tremendous job getting the Fordham program moving in the right direction. He has worked tirelessly to improve all facets of the program, not only upgrading the on-court results; but he has also revitalized our alumni and fan base, and has brought Fordham basketball great exposure on the national level."
In Pecora's brief reign, the Rams have backed up their upset of St. John's with wins over Georgia Tech (the school's first win over an ACC program since 2005) and Harvard, the latter of whom was ranked 24th when Fordham defeated the eventual Ivy League champion Crimson at Rose Hill Gym on January 3rd.
The coach may not have completely changed the culture at Fordham, but even those who know very little about Fordham basketball would agree that Pecora has made great strides in such a short time. When he succeeded Jay Wright at Hofstra in 2001, Pecora had a record through his first two years in Hempstead similar to the one he has at Fordham. All that followed was three consecutive 20-win seasons and NIT appearances that helped build him and his teams of local prospects that he coached into well-rounded players into contenders, and with a recruiting class headlined by coveted forward Ryan Rhoomes and point guard Jermaine Myers set to join senior big man Chris Gaston and the backcourt trio of Branden Frazier, Devon McMillan and Bryan Smith, the man who would feel right at home on nearby Arthur Avenue is once again quietly building a contender in the shadow of a giant.