Duquesne Basketball Staff Update

Duquesne University head coach Keith Dambrot announced today that Steve Wright and Ari Stern have joined the men’s basketball staff as assistant coaches.

Wright comes to DU after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Bowling Green, while Stern, who served on Dambrot’s staff for three seasons from 2019-00 through 2001-02, returns after spending last year as the director of operations for the University of Denver men’s basketball program.

Wright served as video coordinator on Dennis Gates’ staff at Cleveland State (2019-20), prior to making to move to BGSU. DU Associate Head Coach Dru Joyce III was an Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator on Gates’ 2020 CSU staff.

“We actually recruited Steve out of high school, so we know him very well,” said Dambrot. “Dru also worked with him at Cleveland State, so there is another level of familiarity. Steve has always been a hard worker. He had a good pro career and is only scratching the surface of his second career as a coach. We think Steve has a lot to offer our program.”

Prior to his stint at CSU, Wright was the head coach at Princeton High School in Cincinnati from 2017-19. During his time at PHS, he mentored McDonald’s All-American and current NBA forward Darius Bazley (Oklahoma City Thunder/Phoenix Suns). In 2018, Wright was named the Greater Miami Coach of the Year, while also taking home District 16 Coach of the Year honors.

From 2013-16, Wright spent three seasons as assistant coach at Columbus State Community College. In his final season as a Cougar, Wright helped guide CSCC to a 25-8 record and a trip to the NJCAA Division II Tournament. He served as an assistant coach at the University of the Cumberlands (NAIA Division I) in Williams, Kentucky in 2012-13.

Wright’s coaching career also includes stints on the AAU circuit. He was head coach for 17U King James AAU (Akron, Ohio) from 2014-16, and assistant director/head coach for Under Armour’s C2K AAU 16U (Columbus, Ohio) from 2017-19.

Wright, a Dayton, Ohio native, played for Dan Dakich at Bowling Green (2003-06), where he saw action in 78 games with 64 starts. A point guard, Wright led BGSU in assists and steals in 2003-04 and steals again in 2004-05. He averaged 9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals as a Falcon, before completing his career at Northern Kentucky, where he was an NCAA Division II All-American in 2007.

Wright went on to play first-team professional basketball in Germany and Finland from 2007-11.

Wright attended Colonel White High School. He earned his liberal arts degree from BGSU in 2006, and his master’s degree in teaching from the University of the Cumberlands in 2015.

Wright and his wife, Whitney, have two daughters, Camryn and Jordyn.

Stern, who was a graduate assistant for two seasons and Assistant Athletic Director/Basketball Administration in his final year of his first stint at DU, has worn a number of hats in his burgeoning college athletics career.

“Ari has proven to us that his work ethic is second-to-none,” said Dambrot. “He is good at everything he does, from administrative responsibilities to handling day-to-day basketball duties on the floor. We look forward to having him back on our staff.”

Stern, a former four-year player at The College of Wooster, originally came to Duquesne after serving as a player development intern for the Dallas Mavericks in 2018-19.

While with the Mavs, Stern collaborated with coaches in helping facilitate practices, individual workouts and game day activities. He also contributed to Dallas’ analytic efforts by assisting with film breakdown.

The Phoenix, Ariz. native has also worked extensively at a number of national and international basketball academies, clinics and camps.

A team captain at Wooster, Stern was part of teams that compiled a 90-30 record and made four NCAA Division III Championship appearances under head coach Steve Moore, who finished his career ranked fourth on the Division III list with 867 wins.

A graduate of Sunnyslope High School, Stern was one of 10 players named to the statewide All-Academic Boys Basketball Team (Divisions I and II) as a senior. Stern helped the Vikings to the state semifinals twice as they went a combined 57-8 during his junior and senior years.

Stern graduated magna cum laude with a degree in psychology from Wooster in 2018. As part of his degree requirement, he studied the effects of mindset on athletic performance and persistence for his senior independent study thesis. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the NABC Honors Court.

He completed his master’s in leadership at Duquesne in December of 2020.


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