By Josh Adams (@Joshthescribe)
Special To Daly Dose Of Hoops
BRONX, NY -- It doesn't seem right that Jim Ferry should be the coach leaving New York City on a bus with his team.
Ferry is a native son of New York. His father was a transit cop who patrolled the mean streets of the Big Apple. The former coach of two New York college programs, Ferry has roots here as deep as the Lincoln Tunnel.
He coached at Adelphi for three years and had an 82-11 record. He moved over to Long Island University and rebuilt them into two-time Northeast Conference champions, leaving the core in place for a three-peat the following season. In 2012, Ferry decided to move up in the coaching ranks by taking a job in the Atlantic 10 Conference. It was another rebuilding situation, but this time, not in New York. He moved to Pittsburgh and became head coach at Duquesne.
It hasn't been easy for Ferry in the Steel City. His Dukes have had losing seasons in three out of the past four years, and finished at exactly .500 last season, going 17-17. What is happening is almost a carbon copy of Ferry's success at LIU. The Blackbirds had five consecutive losing seasons before the program turned the corner with a .500 season of their own in 2007-08. LIU had a winning conference record in the next four seasons that culminated with consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012.
This year's Duquesne team is young. They start two freshmen and two sophomores, yet the signs are there that progress continues for the Dukes. A win over crosstown big brother Pitt in the annual City Game is the highlight of their non-conference slate.
Ferry made sure to give his players the New York experience before their conference opener Friday night against Fordham. He decided to take his team for an early vacation to his hometown. They went to Carmine's for an Italian family dinner, saw the lights of Times Square and saw the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. "We gave them a little New York feel," said Ferry. "Some of these kids have never been here before. It's special."
After Friday's win in front of friends and family at Fordham, Ferry waxed poetic about his hometown. "I'm a born and bred New York guy. My father was a borough commander here in The Bronx," said Ferry.
He trailed off for a second, then said: "For me, tonight felt like coming back home."