Plenty New For Jeff Neubauer In First Few Weeks At Fordham

To Jeff Neubauer, every day feels like Groundhog Day.

(photo courtesy: Fordham athletics)
Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer has been busy in his first month in the Bronx. (photo courtesy: Fordham athletics)

Since his hire on March 30 to replace the fired Tom Pecora as Fordham’s head coach, Neubauer has been pushed in several different directions; sometimes all at once.

“It’s just more of a matter of just losing track of time,” Neubauer said. “There’s just so much to do. There’s not a normal routine this time of year, instead it’s just trying to scrap and scramble non-stop.”

After winning 188 games in 10 seasons at Eastern Kentucky, the 44-year old has embraced the change as quickly as he can, not just to the Bronx area, but also learning his team.

“Every single day that I’ve been here I’ve felt appreciative that I’m in New York City,” Neubauer said. “As I drive around, just getting to and from the office everyday, there’s something I see everyday that just makes me realize I’m in a totally different world and that’s, to me, an awesome thing.”

At a time of the year where the coaching staff gets less than ample time to coach their players—about two hours every week for workouts and time in the weight room—Neubauer and his staff have been working to instill their new system on the current Rams players. Willie Cruz joined Neubauer’s staff as assistant director of basketball operations, while also serving as the team’s strength coach, which has made the transition to the weight room easier to teach.

“We’re seeing them learn already, just through three weeks of workouts,” Neubauer said. “There are guys that are doing things that will look better now than they were maybe two weeks ago.”

Neubauer’s teams at Eastern Kentucky have been known for strong offenses and turning teams over on defense, especially during the last three seasons when the Colonels won 69 of their 101 games. This past season, the Colonels ranked 128th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, converting 35.1% of their threes. The Rams would have to improve quite a bit from their 329th ranked percentage (29.8%) to match that production from beyond the arc.

“Let’s figure out who can shoot and then also let’s show these guys how to work on their shot, how to develop as shooters, so that we could be really good in that area,” Neubauer said. “So that’s certainly, from a general standpoint, that’s where we started. We’ve spent a lot of time just working on decision making and passing and certain guys really have flourished with that, but in general last year’s Fordham team was not a good decision making team.”

“The value for the basketball was not where it’s going to be next year, so that’s been a point of emphasis.”

One of the other aspects of the program Neubauer inherits is scheduling, which comes with the signed contracts from past staffs, but he said it has been easier than he expected to assemble close to 11 non-conference games.

“Scheduling here in the metropolitan area is a little bit easier than it is in a lot of other places,” Neubauer said. “Part of that too is I think the perception of where Fordham basketball is right now, there have been a lot of schools here in the area eager to schedule us. That’s typically not a great thing, but it has been easier to schedule than I anticipated.”

Fordham will play Boston College at the Barclays Center as part of a challenge event between the Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference. Neubauer said he would like to play as many as nine non-conference games in the New York City area.

“My intention for next year is to play at least two games at Barclays,” Neubauer said.

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and the America East conference, among others, for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.

4 thoughts on “Plenty New For Jeff Neubauer In First Few Weeks At Fordham

  1. Very tough job Neubauer has taken on. Fordham was not coached the past 5 years. Neuhauer will get Fordham to mediocrity or slightly better, but that is the ceiling for the Fordham program, given their conference affiliation problem, terrible facilities, and ineffective athletic administration.

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  2. I find it very intriguing that Coach Neubauer has won over the entire Fordham Basketball community before he even coached a single game.

    These are the facts. Coach Neubauer was not Fordham’s first choice. He was hired out of desperation after many candidates either turned down offers or refused interviews.

    The Fordham administration and Basketball community ran out the prior coach, found themselves without a coach, and settled for Coach Neubauer.

    For Fordham’s sake, I hope Coach Neubauer does succeed. If not, I won’t be surprise when the A-10 toss us out of the Conference.

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    1. Let’s give the new coach a chance. Wittenberg won 18 games and if he were a better coach should have won 20 when that class was seniors. Instead they regressed. JN has the right attitude and is a game coach. I believe with the players we have he wins 15 games. Go Rams.

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  3. This could be best hire since Penders hire in late 70’s.

    Rams under Pecora were too easy to guard in 1/2 court. Opposing coaches said this. When Mandell Thomas was switched to point guard Rams finally started to show some offensive prowess against a-10 competitiion.

    Like that Canadian guard has decided to join new coach. Not surprised that Paschall left. think .500 season or better is possible.

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