Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rutgers hires Steve Pikiell

Rutgers has found its new head coach, naming Stony Brook's Steve Pikiell to replace Eddie Jordan. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Simone via Big Apple Buckets)

Rutgers has a new leader.

The Scarlet Knights have apparently their head coaching vacancy, tabbing Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell as the new head man in Piscataway, according to Steve Politi, who covers Rutgers for the Newark Star-Ledger.

Pikiell, 48, has spent the past eleven years at Stony Brook, where he took over a program on academic probation and led it out of the doldrums of Division I with five America East championship game appearances in the last six seasons. His Seawolves finally cut down the nets one week ago today, reaching their first-ever NCAA Tournament in school history, where they were defeated by Kentucky in the first round. An introductory press conference is set for Tuesday in Piscataway.

A former Jim Calhoun player and assistant at the University of Connecticut, with stops at Yale, Central Connecticut State and George Washington before landing the job at Stony Brook, Pikiell has a career record of 192-156. He replaces Eddie Jordan, who was fired after three seasons and just 29 wins to his credit, only eight of which came in conference play.

Pikiell has already proven he can recruit New Jersey well, a critical component of his new endeavor at Rutgers. Both of Stony Brook's top two scorers at the Division I level are Garden State products, with Bryan Dougher of Scotch Plains enjoying an exceptional four-year career as a Seawolf before Pikiell landed Jameel Warney out of Plainfield and Roselle Catholic High School. Warney's 43 points tied an America East championship game record, and the 6-8 power forward has drawn considerable interest from NBA scouts all season.

Terms of the contract are not official yet, and will need to be approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors. A formal announcement of the deal could happen as early as Monday. However, Pikiell is expected to receive a five-year deal with an average value of $1.6 million per year, as reported by Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press. The compensation would be more than quadruple his salary this season at Stony Brook.

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