Stony Brook’s Steve Pikiell is new Rutgers basketball coach
PISCATAWAY — A person familiar with the decision says Steve Pikiell of Stony Brook has been hired as Rutgers' basketball coach.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the university has not announced the decision.
The hiring comes nine days after Eddie Jordan was fired and less than 48 hours after the Seawolves were beaten by Kentucky in their first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Pikiell led Stony Brook of the America East Conference to a 26-7 record this season. He joins a team that had a 7-25 record and won just one Big Ten Conference game last season, and three over the last two.
Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs had a hard time filling the job. Danny Hurley of Rhode Island and Mike Lonergan of George Washington were his top choices but both asked to be removed from consideration.
Pikiell led Stony Brook to six 20-win seasons in the last seven years and had the Seawolves in the conference championship game four times before finally winning this year. The former Connecticut point guard took over the program in 2005 and didn't have a winning season until 2008-09.
His teams have been strong on defense and the boards. He believes good defense leads to productive offense.
Rutgers struggled this year, with all its big men lost to injuries for most of the season. The team was led by freshman point guard Corey Sanders.