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Rutgers Basketball to Hire Stony Brook’s Steve Pikiell as its New Coach

Steve Pikiell coached Stony Brook University to the NCAA Tournament this year. Rutgers hasn't been to the tournament since 1991.

Steve Pikiell coached Stony Brook University to the NCAA Tournament this year. Rutgers hasn’t been to the tournament since 1991.  photo credit: CBSNEWYORK

Following a 26-7 season and an NCAA Tournament berth, Steve Pikiell has agreed to become the new Rutgers men’s basketball head coach.

The Scarlet Knights went a combined 29-68, along with a 3-35 conference record in the Big Ten under former head coach Eddie Jordan. After Rutgers went 7-25 this season, it was clear that changes needed to be made in the basketball program.

Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs had been searching for a new head coach for the past nine days, and after interviewing multiple candidates, Pikiell was seen as the best choice by Rutgers leadership.

Over the past 11 years, Pikiell coached at Stony Brook University on Long Island. He inherited a 4-win team when he took over at Stony Brook, and built the program from the ground up. His team went 26-7 this season, which included an America East Conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Pikiell was 190-155 over his 11 seasons, including five seasons with 22 wins or more.

His toughest challenge at Rutgers will be recruiting the top talent in New Jersey. When it comes to recruiting, Pikiell will have a solid background to lean on when talking to recruits. He played at Connecticut under Jim Calhoun from 1987 to 1991, where he was a two-year captain.

Pikiell was an assistant coach at UConn, and also has coaching experience at Yale, Wesleyan, Centrall Connecticut, and George Washington.

His coaching experience will surely help recruiting, but Pikiell needs to hire a staff filled with coaches possessing New Jersey roots to help keep the top talent in-state.

It will be an uphill battle for Pikiell at Rutgers, but a new era has begun for basketball at the Scarlet Knights.

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