In a stunning decision, LIU Brooklyn has decided to not renew head coach Jack Perri’s contract when it expires in August.
Perri finishes with a 77-78 record at LIU Brooklyn, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season with the core that he had helped recruit to Brooklyn under Jim Ferry. After that season Perri needed to rebuild the roster, which he did these past three seasons, building from nine wins in 2013-14 to 20 this past year.
And it’s that rebuilding of the program that makes this decision by the university’s administration particularly perplexing. Perri won 20 games in 2016-17, including going 13-5 and finishing second in the NEC. If Chris Wray had missed a difficult layup on the opening night of NEC play it’s quite possible that the Blackbirds would’ve been the No. 1 seed in the league’s conference tournament. While NEC Player of the Year Jerome Frink was set to graduate, the Blackbirds have a young core. The roster looked primed to play a stronger defensive brand of basketball that could’ve helped the Blackbirds rise again to the top of the Northeast Conference.
Instead the school’s administration appears to have decided to go in a completely different direction.
“LIU Brooklyn has informed head men’s basketball coach John Perri that it will not renew his contract which expires in August,” LIU athletic director Brad Cohen said in a statement. “LIU is grateful for his many contributions to our program and wish him great success in the future. A search for a new head men’s basketball coach is underway. The University will provide additional information when a selection has been made.”
Ferry was fired by Duquesne earlier this offseason, but it seems unlikely that he would return to LIU to take the job when his hand-picked protege was fired after winning 20 games.
But there are other names already being bandied about for the job. The New York Post‘s Zach Braziller said that former Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint is a name he’s heard connected to LIU. Braziller also added that former Manhattan and current VCU assistant coach Rasheen Davis would be a good fit, and while that’s true, a former head coach with a proven track record seems more likely given the most recent decision by the administration. On Zagsblog, Adam Zagoria pushed for former Fordham head coach Tom Pecora, current Iona assistant Jared Grasso, Ferry (see above), Flint and current St. Thomas Aquinas coach Tobin Anderson. Grasso is an assistant and seems primed for a job at a higher level, but the others make some bit of sense. Another name that would make sense to me is former Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore, but that also seems unlikely.
It appears that LIU Brooklyn’s administration has taken a big gamble that it can do better than Perri for its head job. It’s not a bet I would’ve made.