Tom Pecora Named New Men’s Basketball Coach at Fodham

After 100 years of intercollegiate competition in basketball Fordham University, has reached its nadir. The men’s team finished the 2009-10 season after suffering 21 consecutive defeats. The team has compiled a record of 5 wins and 51 losses during its past two seasons. In order to end the feeling of embarrassment and anger among the student body and alumni, Fordham’s Board of Directors recently decided to greatly increase its spending in order to upgrade its men’s basketball program. A second step forward was taken this week with the hiring of Tom Pecora as head coach.

Om Thursday, a press conference was held at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx to introduce Pecora. The remarks from all parties at the conference were that there will be a cooperative and concerted effort to improve the level of success of the program but that the methods of improvement will be done in total conformity with the ideals that guide the Jesuit institution of learning. The spirit of cooperation was cited by Pecora,

“It takes a university to raise a program.” The high level in which change will be brought about was stated by the Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Frank McLaughlin, “We are an educational institution, not a basketball factory.” The concern for the student athletes in the basketball program was described by the university’s president Father Joseph McShane, “We believe he [Pecora] will give the players the kind of college athletic experience they expect at Fordham. Our student athletes deserve the same kind of care and attention to personal development on the court as they receive in the classroom, and we are confident that Tom is the coach to deliver that experience.

“He [Pecora] gave the Pride {Hofstra] a reason to be proud.” McLaughlin spoke of on the court success expected, “We are extremely confident that Tom will build a successful program at Fordham to become competitive in the Atlantic 10.” All three speakers gave thanks to many for their cooperation in allowing this partnership to be made possible. Among those cited for cooperating were: the athletic director and president of Hofstra University, local high school and AAU coaches, the basketball leadership of the Atlantic-10 colleges and Fordham’s search committee.

Pecora, in explaining his decision to leave Hofstra after 16 years and come to Fordham, said, “I thought it was the right time to accept a new challenge.” He said it was a family decision that included his wife and three children.” He clearly stated that he was not a patient man and that based upon what he learned it attempting to better the Hofstra basketball program, he would recruit effectively in the metropolitan area for Fordham,

“I have a long-standing relationship with high school coaches in the area. Having been through this process, I know how to do it [improve the basketball program]. We can get the best players in the country because of the conference.” He intends to take no short cuts to achieve success, “The only way I know how to do it is the right way.”

Pecora was born, resided and worked in the metropolitan area through almost all of his life. He was born in Brooklyn. He moved with his family to Queens when he was a young child, attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens and graduated from Adelphi University in 1983. He remained on Long Island to serve as an assistant coach at Long Island Lutheran High School after graduation. His next position was as an assistant at Nassau Community College (1978-89).

For the following three years, he was the head coach at the State University at Farmingdale (1989-92). He left the area for two years, one as an assistant at UNLV and the other as an assistant at Loyola Marymount. The next 16 years he devoted to Hofstra University. He served as assistant for seven seasons before taking over the head coaching duties in 2001. Hofstra was a 20- plus game winner in four of Pecora’s nine seasons at the helm. The team finished 19-15 this year and was invited to the CBI tournament and appeared in three pot season NIT tournaments under his helm.

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