It took a special job, said Jim Ferry, to leave Long Island University Brooklyn behind him.
Thursday, he described Duquesne as that place.
The Dukes new men's basketball coach said he felt a strong commitment by the administration in the interview process, was drawn to strength of the Atlantic 10, and emphasized the chance to lead Duquesne basketball back "to where it belongs" in an introductory news conference at the Palumbo Center.
"I think we have some great people here. I think we have a university that is committed. You have a conference that is one of the tops in the country, and it's my job, and I take pride in that, in building Duquesne basketball back to where it belongs," said Ferry. "I think Duquesne University, the city of Pittsburgh, deserves a great, tough, aggressive basketball program."
Ferry emerged as the leading candidate for the job last weekend, and said there was a mutual interest between himself and athletic director Greg Amodio that spanned back to the Final Four weekend.
He agreed to terms Tuesday. His contract is believed to be seven years at $600,000 a season as reported by The Associated Press.
Amodio said he had substantive conversations with six candidates and heard nothing but good things about Ferry in the process.
He also pointed out how prepared Ferry was for their initial meeting.
"He sat down and broke down five games already. He broke down the players. He said this is what you've got coming back, this is what you need to look for," said Amodio.
Ferry has a tall task in front of him.
Duquesne, which has not been to the NCAA tournament since 1977, went 16-15 this past season.
Three players transferred last month before coach Ron Everhart was dismissed, and one of two signed recruits asked for and received a full release after Everhart's dismissal.
A second recruit -- the prized 6-foot-9 Donovon Jack --will meet Ferry Friday evening at his home in Reading, Pa.
Ferry said he set up the appointment to lay out to Jack what he and his program will be about.
"That's a family decision," said Ferry. "It's my job to go down there, present myself, my philosophy, who we are."
He said he won't rush the recruiting process to fill four open scholarships-- five if Jack asks for a release.
"I just want to make sure we get the right kids to fit Duquesne University and fit our program," said Ferry. "It's not a sprint right now, it's a marathon. We're going to build this program the right way."
Amodio indicated Ferry will be afforded the time to do that and said there will not be outlandish expectations at the outset.
"From the standpoint of expectations, we understand we may need to take a step back to take a couple of steps forward. We're truly realistic about that," said Amodio. "We don't think we're going to make a change and all of a sudden we're going to win 20, 25 games every year.
"We know there's going to be a new system put in place. A new mindset. We have to have our present players buy into that."
Ferry met with the team before the news conference and delivered a simple message.
"You're all-in or all-out," said Ferry. "Those guys who left the program, that was a decision they made. But I don't want anybody on the fence.
"We have a bunch of guys who are committed, and that's what we're going to move forward with."
Sean Johnson, who will be a senior next year, said it was a trying month for the remaining players, who were blindsided when Everhart was fired, lost three teammates, then dealt with the noise of constant rumors about who their next coach would be.
He said he thought Ferry seemed like "a good dude" and said the 10 players left on the team looked at one another in the locker room after Ferry left.
"Everybody said 'All-in.' We're all together as a family."
NOTES -- Ferry named Brian Nash and Rich Glesmann to his staff. Nash, who spent last season as an assistant at Fairfield University, will be the associate head coach. Glessman just finished his seventh season on Ferry's staff at LIU Brooklyn.
First Published April 13, 2012 4:00 AM