Pecora signs extension as A-10 picks up steam

Fordham announced a contract extension today for second-year head coach Tom Pecora that will keep him in the Bronx through the 2016-17 season. The extension comes the same day that we learned that Butler, like VCU, is going to begin competing in the Atlantic 10 starting next season.

The 2012-13 season is going to prove to be one of the toughest tests ever for every coach in the A-10. The league is going to have a bloated 16 members. The schedules will be unbalanced and just making it to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the conference tournament is going to be a challenge for a number of schools, including Fordham. Pecora knows what he’s signing up for. The contract extension isn’t because he’s 17-40 (4-28 in the A-10) in two seasons, it’s because of the progress being made. Turnarounds like what had to be done at Fordham don’t happen overnight.

Some nights the Rams did taste success. Pecora beat Harvard and Georgia Tech last season at Rose Hill. Fordham also took Dayton, UMass and St. John’s to the wire. In fact, last season Pecora did something that’s very hard to do in college basketball: His team got younger and better at the same time according to Ken Pomeroy’s Experience and Overall ratings.

Better though is an extremely relative term in this sense. The Rams still have a long way to go. Fordham finished 14th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 and there’s no doubt they would’ve finished 16th if VCU and Butler were in the league. (Look for more about that tomorrow.) There’s still a big gap between even a team like Duquesne, which fired its head coach, and the Rams.

Things though seem to be moving in the right direction. Jaden Daly already has an insightful look at things and he’s right. The one concern I have is that, as we’re seeing now, the Atlantic 10 isn’t the CAA. The gap was wider to begin with and it’s going to take longer to close. I think this extension acknowledges that the Fordham administration sees that the grand canyon which used to separate the Rams from the rest of league is not as gaping anymore. Now Pecora just has to build the bridge that will get his team over the remaining ravine.

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