The University of South Carolina Beaufort Department of Athletics announced that Ron Fudala has agreed to become the first-ever men’s basketball coach. Fudala comes from IUP (Indiana University Pennsylvania, NCAA Division II school, PSAC [Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference] member) as he has been the Associate Head Coach for the Crimson Hawks for the last four seasons.
“I’d like to thank Chancellor Dr. Al M. Panu, Athletic Director Quin Monahan, the search committee, and the entire Sand Shark family for this exceptional opportunity to be the first men’s basketball leader at this student-centered and community-engaged university,” said Fudala.
“I was so impressed with USC Beaufort’s vision for expansion and providing extraordinary academic fields of study coupled with elite athletic programs,” Fudala expressed. “I was amazed with the energy levels across campus, and I am honored to serve this world-class institution.”
Fudala has been on the bench for three of the most successful seasons in IUP history, helping the Crimson Hawks to 91 victories, three PSAC tournament and regular season division crowns, three straight No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Atlantic Region Championship, and trip to the 2022 Division II Elite Eight and the national semifinals.
“The search committee diligently evaluated over 150 applicants for this important position and unanimously chose Coach Ron Fudala to serve as USCB’s first men’s basketball coach,” said Dr. Bob LeFavi, Chair of the Search Committee and Faculty Athletic Representative.
“Coach Fudala’s experience, enthusiasm and strategic plan stood out among other candidates, and his emphasis on academic success, relationship-building and character development is a perfect match for the university’s student-centered approach to learning.”
Fudala has helped coach eight All-PSAC West selections and five PSAC special award winners, including conference players of the year in Jacobo Diaz, Malik Miller, and Armoni Foster. Diaz, Miller and Foster also earned All-American honors.
“Each interaction and communication led to greater confirmation that he’s going to be an amazing leader for our basketball program,” said Monahan. “I’m thrilled to announce Ron as our inaugural head men’s basketball coach and can’t wait for him to get to USCB to begin building the program. With the addition of Coach Fudala to our coaching staff, the Tide is indeed Rising! Great and exciting days are ahead for Sand Shark men’s basketball.”
In Fudala’s fourth season in 2021-22, he helped the Crimson Hawks go 33-3 with a region title and a trip to the Elite Eight and the national semifinals. IUP won the PSAC West division title with a 20-2 league record, won its third straight tournament title, earned the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the Atlantic Region championship, then defeated Cal U for the fourth time on the season for its seventh all-time region title.
“Ron’s passion for developing young men through the sport of basketball is incredible,” exclaimed Monahan. “His excitement and zeal are evident from the moment you meet him. He’ll be an outstanding coach for USCB Athletics – on the recruiting trail, in the community, throughout campus, and most certainly on the basketball court. USCB just got better today!”
Fudala came to IUP after spending the 2017-18 season as the director of basketball operations at Portland State. He helped the Vikings, who play out of the Division I Big Sky Conference, to a 20-14 overall record and a bid to the College Insider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). It was the program’s first 20-win season in nearly 10 years and third most wins in the 22 years as a Big Sky member.
Portland State posted a 10-3 non-conference record – the best in school history – with wins over a pair of PAC 12 schools in Cal and Stanford. The Vikings led the nation in turnover margin, and were second in steals, turnovers forced and offensive rebounds.
Prior to Portland State, Fudala served as Herb Sendek’s graduate assistant coach at Division I Santa Clara University. The Broncos finished 17-16 overall and fell to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference (WCC) tournament. As the GA, Fudala assisted with player scouting, development, and on-court workouts, while pursing his master’s in business analytics.
From 2013-15 Fudala was the head freshman coach and assistant boy’s varsity coach at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pa. He was responsible for scouting opponents, game preparation, practice management, and individual player development. In 2015, he helped Char Valley win the WPIAL championship and 2014 as a WPIAL finalist.
He has also worked as a volunteer basketball coach for Project CHUCK that served underprivileged children.
Fudala was a four-year starter at Laurel Highlands High School, where he led the team to multiple conference titles and WPIAL AAA playoff victories. He earned all-county and all-conference honors as a sophomore and junior, before tearing his ACL during the first game of his senior season, ending his career just shy of 1,000 points.
While never returning to full health, Fudala went on to play one season at Case Western Reserve University before his basketball playing career was cut short by multiple ACL and knee injuries. He transferred to Carnegie Mellon University and began his coaching career.
He graduated from Carnegie Mellon in December 2014 with a bachelor’s of science degree in economics and statistics, and he is close to completing his master’s of science in business analytics from Santa Clara.
“I am extremely humbled and excited to be a part of the Sand Shark Nation and to build the men’s basketball program from the ground up,” said Fudala. “Together, we will inspire our young men to achieve more. At USCB, there is tremendous potential to build a championship program. Fins Up!”