UMBC men’s basketball head coach Jim Ferry completed his coaching staff with the addition of three assistant coaches. Danny Lawson, Josh Pelletier and Evann Baker will join the staff for the 2021-22 season. Director of Operations Jake Brudish will remain on staff in his previous role.
Danny Lawson joins the Retriever coaching staff for the 2021-22 season after spending the last three seasons as the head coach at Emmanuel College.
In his first season with the Saints, Lawson did a remarkable job leading the team to an 18-8 record to show an overall win improvement of 14.5 games from the previous campaign en route to being named the 2019 D3Hoops.com Northeast Region Coach of the Year. The 14.5 win improvement was ranked 2nd among all NCAA Divisions that season. The 18 total wins is the third-highest single-season total in program history and the Saints earned the right to host a playoff game for the first time in 10 seasons, picking up the win to advance to the conference Semifinals.
He followed up his exceptional Head Coaching debut with a 19-7 mark in 2019-20, posting the program’s highest single-season winning percentage at .731 while leading the Saints to a home playoff berth for the second consecutive season.
Prior to Emmanuel, Lawson spent seven years working alongside Jim Ferry at both Duquesne University and Long Island University as an Assistant Coach and Director of Basketball Operations. At LIU, their team’s achieved back to back NEC Championships and NCAA Tournament berths, reaching the Second round in 2011 and 2012. During his time at Duquesne, he recruited, coached, and developed two A10 All-League student-athletes and three A10 Rookie Team selections. Lawson also served as a scouting director, coordinated player counseling and mentoring, and played a major role in all other aspects of program decision-making including in-game situations, team management and development.
Other stops throughout Lawson’s basketball career have included Le Moyne College (Assistant Coach), the Boston Celtics (Assistant Video Coordinator), and Bentley University where he graduated in 2007.
With the Boston Celtics, Lawson worked alongside Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, and Tom Thibodeau during their 2008 NBA World Championship. His responsibilities included game film analysis and preparation of video edits, scouting and personnel reports on all 29 NBA teams, and supporting the coaching staff and the players during individual development workouts, practice, and pre-game routines, and lastly, assisting with all NBA Draft Workouts.
As a Bentley Falcon, Lawson guided the squad as a student-athlete to a four-year record of 101-27, a No. 1 and No. 2 national rankings, a pair of winning streaks that lasted 32 and 22 games, respectively, an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2007) and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance (2005). As part of a record setting five man class, Lawson was awarded the Senior Male Athlete of the Year award for his leadership and impact in 2007, while in 2005, Lawson earned the Frances M. Bennett Most Improved Player award.
Lawson is a 2007 graduate of Bentley University with a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences (minor in management) and a 2012 graduate from LIU Brooklyn with a Master’s Degree in Social Science.
Josh Pelletier Veteran assistant Josh Pelletier begins his first season at UMBC after spending the last seven at Albany. He comes to UMBC with 12 years of division one coaching experience between Albany, LIU Brooklyn, and Duquesne. During his time at Albany they twice set records for single-season win totals and averaged over 20 wins a season from 2015-2019. He has been a part of six teams that have qualified for National Postseason Tournaments including two NCAA Tournament berths. During the 2020-2021 season that was shortened due to COVID, Pelletier was in charge of a transformation that saw Albany play at the fastest tempo in the America East.
Pelletier’s recruiting efforts ultimately helped re-write the record book at Albany. He recruited David Nichols, the only sophomore in Albany history to be selected to the America East All-Conference First Team. Nichols’ 625 points in the 2017 season are the second-highest total ever in the history of Albany basketball. Nichols was also selected as America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball in 2016-2017.
In the 2018-2019 season, two freshmen from Australia left their mark. Cameron Healy set single-season program records for three-pointers made and attempted and set a freshman program record for total points en route to All-Conference and All-Rookie honors. Adam Lulka became the only freshman in program history to be named team captain. Lulka started all 32 games for Albany, shooting 56% from the field and leading the Great Danes in rebounding.
Pelletier also recruited Travis Charles who holds the records for highest field goal percentage and points per game for a forward in Albany basketball history. The All-Conference forward was in the top-10 in scoring and rebounding in the America East as a senior in 2018. Also in the frontcourt,that season was Alex Foster, the team’s first-ever graduate transfer, who tied a program record with 15 rebounds in a game at Louisville.
Working with both guards and forwards, Pelletier has coached and recruited five America East All-Conference First Team players in Nichols, Sam Rowley, Ray Sanders, Evan Singletary, and Joe Cremo. Cremo was also selected as America East Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year in the 2015-16 season.
The Troy, New York native spent one season with Duquesne in 2013-14. As the Director of Basketball Administration, Pelletier served as the team’s primary contact for donor and alumni relations in addition to coordinating the team’s travel and daily itinerary. Pelletier also developed scouting and recruiting strategies in conjunction with the Duquesne coaching staff.
Pelletier served as the Director of Basketball Operations for LIU Brooklyn in 2012-2013. The Blackbirds became the only team in Northeast Conference history to advance to the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons.
Pelletier started his coaching career as a graduate assistant and video coordinator with Albany from 2009-2012.
A 2009 graduate of The College of Saint Rose, Pelletier was a four-year letter winner for Brian Beaury and helped the Golden Knights advance to three NCAA Division II Tournaments while serving as team captain in his senior season. Pelletier graduated from Saint Rose with a Bachelor’s Degree in secondary education before earning a Master’s Degree in liberal studies at Albany.
In the high school ranks, Pelletier played at LaSalle Institute in addition to his AAU time with the prestigious Albany City Rocks. Pelletier was elected to the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 and still holds the career scoring record at LaSalle Institute.
Pelletier and his wife, Robin, have a son Elijah and a daughter Charlotte.
Evann Baker comes to Baltimore as an assistant coach for the 2021-22 season after spending time as the video coordinator at Akron.
Baker joined the Zips’ staff as the video coordinator in September 2017, arriving from Penn State. He spent two seasons, 2015-2017, with the Nittany Lions as a graduate manager. He assisted in player development and practice duties, as well as editing film for coach analysis and assisting the directors of player development and operations with their daily tasks.
Prior to Penn State, he spent three years with high school and AAU programs around the D.C. area, including U15 Nike Team Takeover. He was also the acting dean of students and educational aide at Lasalle Backus Educational Campus.
Baker started his career as an undergraduate and graduate assistant coach at his alma mater Quinnipiac after a career-ending knee injury that prevented him from playing in his sophomore season. He was named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team, averaging 10.9 points per game, Baker was NEC Rookie of the Week twice.
He was a four-year letter winner from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., where he was named Gatorade Player of the Year (2006). Baker ranks 9th all-time in Washington, DC in single-game scoring (51 points).
Baker earned three degrees, a bachelor’s in media studies and a master’s in Journalism from Quinnipiac, and a second master’s in Educational Leadership from Penn State. In addition, Baker is the director of communications for Education Goals Opportunities and Sports (E.G.O.S) non-profit organization.
Jake Brudish enters his second season as the Director of Operations after serving in that role during the 2020-21 season. Brudish has been with the program since the 2017-18 season as a graduate assistant before moving to Director of Analytics in 2019. Brudish was on staff for the historic win against Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
Prior to joining the Retrievers, Brudish spent the 2016-17 season as an Assistant Varsity Coach at St. Mark’s School of Texas under head coach Greg Guiler.
Brudish played for one season at Division III University of Rochester before transferring to Division I Southern Methodist. At SMU, he played for two seasons under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. In 2015, SMU won the American Conference Tournament earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012 he helped co-found Hoops International, Inc, a nonprofit organization that uses sport to empower youth, foster teamwork, promote community engagement, and bridge cultural barriers between Americans and global citizens around the world. Brudish was a 1,000 point scorer at St. Mary’s High School, graduating in 2013. He earned his master’s degree from UMBC in 2019.