CATONSVILLE, Md. — He comes to Catonsville with two decades of head coaching experience and over 300 wins. Jim Ferry is primed to add many more.
The 53-year-old was introduced as the tenth head coach in UMBC men’s basketball history Wednesday. It’s his third full-time Division I head coaching gig after leading LIU-Brooklyn and Duquesne.
"For me to be sitting here today, it really hasn’t hit me yet," he said. "Just really excited. Really looking forward to working with these guys, these players. This is what I want to do. This is where I want to be."
Ferry arrives at UMBC after four years at Penn State. He spent three as an assistant before taking over as interim head coach last season. He led the Nittany Lions to an 11-14 record, beating Maryland twice. He's known as an offensive-minded coach and was responsible for Penn State’s resurgence in recent years.
"We play with great pace and tempo. We’re always playing downhill, pushing it at you, give great freedom offensively," he said about his team's style.
Ferry takes over for Ryan Odom, who left for Utah State. He inherits a program coming off some unprecedented success of late. The Retrievers won an America East regular season championship last season, conference tournament title in 2018 and of course that NCAA Tourney win over Virginia in the same year. UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed. Ferry wants more.
"I don’t want to be a 16. Let me get a 15, a 13, a 14. Then you don’t have to worry about 16 over one."
Now comes the hard part - putting a roster together. According to verbalcommits.com UMBC’s top three and five of it’s top six scorers from last season have entered the transfer portal. Those names include: R.J. Eytle-Rock, Brandon Horvath, Darnell Rogers, Keondre Kennedy and Dan Akin.
"I did speak with the guys on the team. I did speak with the guys in the portal," said Ferry. "I want them all to stay. I really do. But they have a right to be in the portal and I’m going to support that."
Ferry said his plan over the next few days is to meet with his players individually. He’s going to make his case as to why this talented roster should stay together and make another run at an NCAA Tournament.