Dru Joyce III named Head Basketball Coach at Duquesne

Duquesne University Director of Athletics Dave Harper announced Thursday that Dru Joyce III has been named the 18th head coach in the 108-year history of the Duquesne University men’s basketball program. Joyce III will be formally introduced at a press conference Monday, April 1, on DU’s campus. A media advisory will be distributed Sunday, March 31, for the location of the press conference.

“I’m very pleased to have Dru as our next head men’s basketball coach at Duquesne University,” Harper said. “Knowing of Coach Dambrot’s potential retirement, a full vetting and search process was launched. Dru exhibited a clear vision for our program going forward and understands the challenge of keeping our recent success a possibility in the years ahead. It’s now imperative that we support him, his staff and the program with all that is needed to continue to be successful.”

Joyce III, a native of Akron, Ohio, has spent the last two seasons as associate head coach with the Dukes, helping guide Duquesne to an overall record of 45-25 (.643), including a 20-16 (.556) mark in the Atlantic 10, during that span. The Dukes made an appearance in the 2023 College Basketball Invitational (CBI) before earning the automatic bid for the A-10 in the 2024 NCAA Championship by winning four games in five days en route to the 2024 Atlantic 10 Championship crown in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Barclays Center. Duquesne, as a No. 11 seed, made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1977 and earned its first victory in the championship since 1969 thanks to a 71-67 win over No. 6 seed BYU in Omaha, Neb., at CHI Health Center Arena.

“I’ve wanted to be an NCAA Division I head coach since I was 14 years old, so I’m overwhelmed with joy to be named the next head coach at Duquesne University,” Joyce III said. “I’d like to thank Duquesne University President Ken Gormley, Director of Athletics Dave Harper and the Board of Trustees for this unbelievable opportunity. I’m looking forward to expanding on the legacy that Keith Dambrot has built the last seven years, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue to make an impact with the student-athletes, coaches and staff to make our program one that Duquesne and the surrounding region can be proud of.”

During his first two seasons on the Bluff as associate head coach, Joyce III was instrumental in the development of guards Jimmy Clark III and Dae Dae Grant. Clark III is a two-time Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team (2023, 2024) honoree, having led the conference in steals each of the last two years, and was also named to the 2024 All-Atlantic 10 Second Team. In two seasons with the Dukes, Grant scored 1,070 points in 67 games, an average of 16.0 points per contest, becoming the 40th player in program history to join the Duquesne 1,000-Point Club. A two-time All-Atlantic 10 Second Team (2023, 2024) selection, Grant established single-season (94.2%) and career (91.4%) records for free-throw percentage while also setting a new program benchmark for consecutive free throws made (46) during the 2023-24 campaign.

Dru Joyce III has proven his abundant talent as a coach,” Duquesne University President Ken Gormley said. “He’s been a key figure in the recent success of the Duquesne men’s basketball program, alongside Keith Dambrot, that culminated this year in the exciting Atlantic 10 Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance, re-energizing men’s basketball at Duquesne and in Pittsburgh. Dru is already a respected, valued and admired member of the Duquesne family. For that reason, this was an easy decision. Dru will carry forward the great work of Coach Dambrot and continue to usher in an exciting new era of Duquesne basketball that will allow our impressive team of student-athletes to shine on a national stage.”

Joyce III joined the staff at Duquesne in May of 2022 after spending three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Cleveland State. While on the staff of the Vikings that was led by Dennis Gates, Joyce III helped Cleveland State go from a 10-21 season to a 19-8 (.704) record and NCAA Tournament appearance in the span of two seasons. The Vikings earned an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Championship and followed with a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance in 2022 as Cleveland State finished with a record of 20-11 (.645).

During the final two seasons Joyce III was on staff at CSU, the Vikings finished 31-10 (.756) in the Horizon League, including a 16-4 (.800) ledger in 2020-21 and a 15-6 (.714) mark in 2021-22.

Joyce III takes over at Duquesne for Keith Dambrot, who finished with an overall record of 116-96 (.547) with the Dukes and announced his retirement March 18, 2024. The ties between Joyce III and Dambrot date back to 1999-00, when Joyce III was the point guard for Dambrot’s Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School team. Joyce III, who was a teammate of both Lebron James and eventual college teammate Romeo Travis at SVSM, played two seasons under Dambrot, who left to take an assistant coaching position at Akron in 2001.

Following a high school career in which he garnered all-state honors, the Irish went 103-5 (.954) with three state titles during his tenure, Joyce III moved on to Akron, where he established the program career record for assists (503) and earned All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) honors twice (2006, 2007). Joyce III took over as the starting point guard for the Zips as a sophomore when Dambrot was named head coach prior to the 2005-06 season, and during his time Akron won 81 games, including tying the school record for victories with 26 during the 2006-07 season.

Following a standout career with the Zips, Joyce III played professionally in Europe for 12 seasons in Germany, Poland, Russia and France. He ended his pro career as the all-time leader in assists in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga. Joyce III, who concluded his collegiate career with 1,046 points, was inducted into the Akron Varsity “A” Hall of Fame in 2019, the same year as Dambrot. Joyce III and his wife, Lanae, have three children, Alivia, Kanin and Averie.


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