After a lengthy search, the Duquesne Dukes finally found their head coach.
The University introduced former LIU-Brooklyn head coach Jim Ferry to the same position at Duquesne on Thursday under much different circumstances than the last hire the school made six years ago.
Rather than just trying to reach respectability when Ron Everhart was hired in 2005, Ferry is expected to bring stability and the ability to get the Dukes to the next level.
After another middle-of-the-pack season in 2011-2012, Ferry inherits a team ravaged by transfers and graduations, and an uphill battle to fight before he even coaches his first game.
Everhart's highly-regarded recruiting class for the 2012-2013 season is in danger of falling apart. Highly-touted guard Willie Moore of Cincinnati announced he has decomitted, and others are in danger of doing the same.
Ferry's first big test will come on Friday, as he said he will be meeting with 6-foot-9 commit Donovan Jack of Reading, PA. Jack was supposed to be the big man the Dukes had sorely lacked for years, and was expected to contribute immediately to a team lacking forward depth. Ferry's ability to convince Jack to stay will be crucial going forward.
Ferry also has five scholarships to use in a short amount of time to fill out the roster. This will give his support staff, headed by former Seton Hall and Siena assistant Brian Nash, an early challenge to show their recruiting abilities on the fly. Ferry and his staff have plenty of ties to New York City recruiting, and it will be interesting to see how creative the staff will be trying to fill the remaining spots on the team.
Another big challenge that Jim Ferry will need to overcome is winning over a locker room that lacks leadership. T.J. McConnell's departure for Arizona leaves the Dukes without a floor general and a vocal leader. The Dukes' confidence may be shattered a bit given the tumultuous offseason and struggles at the end of last season. Ferry will need to build a strong relationship with the players from the get-go in order for the team to achieve the goals the university has set.
The pressure is now on Ferry to get the ball rolling under some very tough circumstances. Given his successes in building a program at LIU-Brooklyn, it is easy to see why the university decided to choose him to take over. Now it is time for him to take advantage of this unique opportunity to showcase some of his coaching abilities in his early weeks on the job and show he was the right choice.