The former head coach of the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team, Steve Pikiell, was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Rutgers Men’s Basketball team in a press conference on Tuesday.
“He has arrived at every program at its low, and he has left every program at its height,” Rutgers Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs said of Pikiell. “Worst to first, that’s Steve Pikiell.”
The Seawolves had just a 4-24 record in their 2005-06 season, Pikiell’s first at Stony Brook. The team gradually improved over the course of Pikiell’s tenure, culminating in a 26-7 record this season. The team won its first America East title and reached its first NCAA Tournament in Stony Brook’s Division I history.
“I told [Hobbs] every job along the way I’ve never let an Athletic Director down, I’ve never let a president down and I’ve never let a student body down,” Pikiell said. “And I’m not going to do it here at Rutgers.”
Pikiell called coaching at Rutgers “a dream job.” The new hire said that on recruiting trips, he would pass by the school while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, and dream of coaching there one day.
The three leading scorers in Stony Brook’s Division-I history — senior forward Jameel Warney, former guard Bryan Dougher and senior guard Carson Puriefoy — all went to high school in New Jersey. Warney, Dougher and Puriefoy were each in attendance at the press conference, as were several of Pikiell’s former assistant coaches.
“I don’t think I’ve slept in four days,” Pikiell said. “I’m going to tell you what our brand is going to be. It’s going to be: win, win.”
NJ.com originally reported the news of Pikiell’s departure from Stony Brook on Saturday. Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron has announced a nationwide search for Pikiell’s replacement, according to Newsday.
“For 11 years Steve Pikiell gave his heart and soul to Stony Brook University,” Heilbron said in a statement. “I have no doubt that he will bring that same philosophy to Rutgers.”