Jeff Neubauer, Fordham’s new men’s basketball coach, guided the Rams (2-1) to its second win in its first three games on Saturday afternoon at the historic Rose Hill Gym on Fordham’s Bronx campus. The Rams defeated the visiting Farleigh Dickinson University Knights (1-3)
The winning mark, even so early in the season, is a rarity for the Rams. The Rams have not had a winning season record during the past eight years and only one during the last 23 seasons.
In the hope of improving its record and changing its men’s basketball culture, Fordham hired Jeff Neubauer to be its new head coach last spring. Although only in his early 40’s, Neubauer has coached for the past 20 years. The native of Slidell, Louisiana is no stranger to the north. He attended La Salle University in Philadelphia. He was a true college student-athlete as the point guard on a team whose record was 83-36 during his four years on the team. He was certainly not neglectful of his studies as a cum laude graduate in finance in 1993. The outstanding student earned his MBA at the Citadel in 1996, where he also served as a graduate assistant coach.
Neubauer then moved to the University of Richmond, where he was an assistant coach under John Beilein for five years. The Spiders won 100 games in those years.
He traveled with Beilein to West Virginia where he also was an assistant coach. In his final season at West Virginia, the Mountaineers ended the season ranked 12th in the nation. Beilein highly praised his assistant when Neubauer was hired by Fordham, “This is a great hire for both Fordham and the Atlantic 10…He and his staff will have a lsting effect and positive impact on the future of Fordham basketball.”
During the past 10 years, Neubauer was the head coach of the Eastern Kentucky Colonials. He led them to a 188-134 mark (.584) and entry into five postseason tournaments. He also led his players to success in the classroom as they ranked among the nation’s best in their Academic Progress rate (APR).
His vast experience made him realize the situation he took over at Fordham. Prior to the season, he stated, “I understand where we are now. We have a great challenge.” Scheduling nine of Fordham’s first 10 pre-conference games at home was not accidental. The coach believes having the players and its fans believe the Rams can win is of paramount importance, “We have to create momentum. Once we can show Fordham can win, it will explode.”
Thus, far Fordham has won its first two home games after losing its opener in Texas. Fordham led throughout Saturday’s contest. The lead grew as the game advanced. During the final 21.42, the Rams were ahead by double digits.
After the game concluded, Neubauer spoke of his plans for improving Fordham’s defense, “We still have a long, long way to go. We’re trying to develop a defensive mindset.” He cited several examples in the latest contest, “We held them to four transition points because we didn’t give them the ball.” Fordham had an excellent assist/turnover ratio of 22/11 while FDU’s was only 13/22.
The coach hopes his many freshmen on the roster will continue to improve as they exhibited on Saturday, “We need these freshmen to play older than their years. We need everyone to improve.” One freshman, Joseph Chartouny, led the team with 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals. The coach proclaimed, “Joseph is growing and growing and will get a lot better.”
Fordham’s next game, also at home, will be on Tuesday, November 24, against Colgate at 8 pm in the second game of a women’s/men’s doubleheader.