Penn State men’s basketball head coach Patrick Chambers has announced the appointment of veteran coach Jim Ferry as an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions. Most recently the head coach at Duquesne, Ferry will travel with the team for its foreign tour trip to the Bahamas later this week.
“We absolutely seized the opportunity to bring a person and a coach of Jim’s caliber into our Penn State basketball family,” Chambers said. “We’ve been good friends for a long time and his extensive experience, perspective and ability to develop and recruit players will have an immediate impact on our program.”
Prior to his five years at Duquesne, Ferry spent 10 seasons as head coach at LIU Brooklyn, guiding that program to unprecedented levels of success. At Long Island, Ferry led the Blackbirds to Northeast Conference regular-season titles and tournament championships in 2011 and 2012, including their first NCAA Championship appearance in 14 years.
Ferry engineered a turnaround at LIU Brooklyn, inheriting a team that had won only five games in the season before his arrival. He transformed the program into a winner, posting back-to-back campaigns of at least 25 wins, and helped position the Blackbirds for a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Through the years as competitors and friends, I have watched how Coach Chambers and his staff have built this program up,” Ferry said. “It’s an exciting time for Penn State Basketball and to be able to contribute to the success is something I am really looking forward to. I’m already familiar with this great university and have a strong connection, as my oldest daughter graduated from Penn State and my youngest daughter is a current student. I’m proud to say I’m a part of it now too.”
With his offensive-minded approach, Ferry has produced some of the nation’s top scoring squads. LIU Brooklyn was the fourth-highest scoring team in the country in 2011 and the 2012 Blackbirds ranked second, scoring at a clip of 81.4 points per game. In addition to steady improvements in other key statistical markers at Duquesne, the Dukes closed in on an 80 points per game average in 2015-16.
Ferry’s Duquesne teams reached several milestones, including a 17-win mark in 2015-16, setting a school record for points (2,704), and netting 322 three-point field goals, the third-highest total in Atlantic 10 history. During that season, Ferry celebrated his 300th career coaching win and the Dukes helped add to that total with a trip to the postseason.
In each of his first two years, the Dukes posted other significant wins under Ferry, recording a victory at Atlantic 10 foe Temple in 2013, the first since 1995. An upset of 10th-ranked Saint Louis on the Billikens’ home court gave Duquesne its first road win over a top-10 team in more than five decades.
The Elmont, N.Y., native entered the coaching ranks as an assistant at his alma mater, Keene State College, in Keene, New Hampshire, following his graduation in 1990. He then served as an assistant coach at Bentley College for seven years before his first season as a head coach came at Plymouth State in 1988-99. Ferry returned to his home state to lead Adelphi University, compiling an 82-11 record in three seasons from 1999-2002.
Ferry played one year at New York Tech before transferring to Keene State, where he posted a double-digit scoring average for his career. Ferry led the Owls in scoring as a junior and was team captain as a senior. The son of a New York City transit police officer, he earned his undergraduate degree in public safety science.