Rutgers officially has a new head basketball coach.
Steve Pikiell, who spent the past 11 seasons as the head coach at Stony Brook, was announced as the Scarlet Knights' new head man on Tuesday.
“This is a dream job for me,” Pikiell said in the school's announcement. “I am so excited about the vision that (athletics director) Pat (Hobbs) has for Rutgers athletics, and I’m very fortunate to be a part of it. There is so much potential here. Rutgers has all the ingredients — great location, great university, great people and a great conference. When evaluating the position, it checked all the boxes for me. I look forward to building a program that the Rutgers community will be proud of.”
Pikiell amassed a 192-156 record at Stony Brook, completely turning around a Seawolves program that has only been playing in Division-I since 1999. He won four games in his first season as head coach but built the program into a four-time America East regular-season conference champion, winning at least 22 games in each of the last five seasons. This year, he led Stony Brook to 26 wins, both regular-season and conference-tournament conference championships and the program's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
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Rutgers is need of a similar turnaround. The Knights fired Eddie Jordan after three seasons, and the first two seasons of Big Ten competition have been miserable, with the team winning just three of 36 regular-season conference contests. This season, Rutgers won just seven games, the lowest single-season win total since the 1987-88 season.
“Everywhere Steve Pikiell has been, he’s won,” Hobbs said in the announcement. “But most impressive, is that everywhere he’s been, they started at the bottom and rose to the top. He will bring that same dedication and energy to build a successful program at Rutgers. That work has already begun.”
Prior to arriving at Stony Brook, Pikiell was an assistant at George Washington, Central Connecticut State, Yale and Connecticut. Pikiell played his college basketball at Connecticut from 1987 to 1991, reaching the Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen in his final two seasons, respectively.
With Rutgers' firing of Jordan and former head football coach Kyle Flood and hiring of Pikiell and Chris Ash, Hobbs has established new regimes in each of the two most high-profile sports in his department.