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.
SYRACUSE — Hofstra coach Tom Pecora is the new coach at Fordham and will be introduced at a press conference set for 1 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s done, he took the job,” a Hofstra source said, adding that it was a five-year deal. Terms were unclear, but Fordham said the annual salary was less than the $705,000 figure that has been reported.
Pecora met Wednesday with Fordham officials at an off-campus location and a deal was struck. He was not immediately available for comment.
Hofstra will hold its annual men’s basketball reception Wednesday night, and Pecora will inform the Pride players then.
“Pecora brings instant credibility to Fordham,” said Kimani Young, athletic director of the influential New Heights AAU program. “He knows the landscape of New York City basketball and will bring a wealth of knowledge and recruiting relationships to the table. I believe he will build a competitive team in two years.”
Fordham went 2-26 last season. Head coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired following a 1-4 start and interim coach Jared Grasso finished the season. Grasso continues to do individual workouts and conditioning with players while he plans out his future. Pecora could opt to keep Grasso on his staff; Grasso previously served as a grad assistant under Pecora at Hofstra.
Grasso secured four verbal commitments as an interim coach. At least one recruit, Paterson Catholic senior guard Jayon James, has said he most likely will “not” maintain his commitment to Fordham if Grasso is not retained.
Pecora turned down the Seton Hall gig four years ago, choosing to remain at Hofstra instead. The Pirates then turned to Bobby Gonzalez, who was recently fired.
Hofstra went 19-15 this season, falling to IUPUI in the first round of the CBI. In nine seasons at Hofstra, Pecora is 155-126. Twice during his tenure he has been named the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year.
It might have been advantageous for Pecora to hold off on the Fordham meeting so he could see if anything develops with the Paul Hewitt-St. John’s situation, but Fordham wanted the meeting Wednesday.
Hewitt met Tuesday night in Atlanta with St. John’s athletic director Chris Monasch, but, as reported exclusively by SNY.tv, no contract offer was made, according to a source.
If Hewitt were to decline the St. John’s job, Pecora could potentially have become the top candidate for the Big East position.
“Fordham doesn’t want to play second fiddle,” the Hofstra source said.
Two other St. John’s targets — Virginia Tech Seth Greenberg and Florida coach Billy Donovan — have both said they will remain at their current schools.
While Fordham now has a coach, St. John’s, Seton Hall and now Hofstra do not.
One leading candidate to replace Pecora would be associate head coach Van Macon.
A native of Corona Park, N.Y., Macon has been on staff for nine years at Hofstra and has developed strong ties with many local high school and AAU coaches.
He was instrumental in landing Bishop Loughlin senior guard Branden Frazier.
“He’s been the point person tapping into the high school and AAU ranks of New York City and they would do themselves a service by retaining him as head coach,” Young said.
CW Post coach Tim Cluess has also been mentioned.
(Photo courtesy Hofstra Athletics)
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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.