Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired Thursday afternoon and assistant Jared Grasso will replace him on an interim basis.
“We have great respect for Dereck as a coach and person, and appreciate his contribution to Fordham, his integrity and his dedication to the student athletes,” said Fordham AD Frank McLaughlin. “We wish him and his family well.
“This was a difficult decision, but we felt that we needed a new direction for the basketball program at this time. It’s a priority of the University to have a successful program in the competitive Atlantic 10 Conference.”
Whittenburg is in his seventh season at Fordham. He compiled a 69-112 record with the Rams, 136-162 overall in eleven seasons as a head coach.
Grasso is entering his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Fordham program. He served as an assistant at Quinnipiac University, his Alma Mater, in 2005-2006, before arriving at Rose Hill. Grasso was also an assistant coach at the University of Hartford (2003-2005) after serving as a graduate assistant at Hofstra University in 2002-2003.
Grasso is a strong recruiter who has ties to prep powerhouses St. Anthony and Paterson Catholic, as well as many of the New York City schools. Here’s a feature I did on him a year ago.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement by sophomore point guard Jio Fontan that he intended to leave the school at the end of the semester.
Jorge Fontan, Jio’s father, said he had no immediate comment on the coaching change and needed to speak with his son.
Two other players transferred after last season. Mike Moore left for Hofstra and guard Trey Blue went to Illinois State.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.