After a lengthy coaching search that included a brief flirtation with Larry Brown, LIU-Brooklyn hired former UMASS coach Derek Kellogg, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Kellogg replaces Jack Perri, whose contract was not renewed after a 20-win season. Perri went 77-70 overall in five years as LIU coach and 46-42 in NEC play.
The Perri news was pretty surprising to begin with. He reached one NCAA Tournament in his first year in 2013. That was one year removed from Jim Ferry leaving for the Duquesne job. As some may know, Ferri was fired from Duquesne shortly after the end of the regular season.
Perri essentially went through the standard mid-major arc. He did a good job with the roster that remained from the Ferry years, reaching the NCAA Tournament, then went through a rebuild, winning nine and 12 games, respectively, the following two seasons. Much like Robert Morris, LIU has been hit pretty hard with transfers the past few seasons.
It is just my personal opinion that relieving Perri of his duties was the wrong move. He’s proven to be a strong recruiter both in the area and out-of-country. He brought in Jerome Frink as a FIU transfer, who ended up winning NEC Player of the Year. Even with some significant roster turnover, the Blackbirds pieced together a good roster and were legitimate threats to win the NEC as a two seed this season, before, of course, losing in the final seconds in round one to RMU.
Who knows what was going on behind-the-scenes. I doubt we’ll ever find out.
So, now it’s Kellogg’s turn. Year one will be an uphill climb for him. LIU will have to replace Frink, Nura Zanna and guard Iverson Fleming, arguably the three best players on the team. They have a young, talented backcourt in Jashaun Agosto and Julian Batts. Some of their other young guards showed promise. Regardless, it’ll be nearly impossible to replace the production they received in their frontcourt last season.
Kellogg went 155-137 over eight seasons at UMASS, a member of the A-10. The Minutemen went 15-18 last year but 4-14 in conference play and lost in the second round of their conference tournament to St. Bonaventure. Kellogg led UMASS to one NCAA Tournament appearance (2014).
According to MassLive.com, he brought in a pretty talented recruiting class prior to the start of the season. We’ll see how that translates to the NEC.
More from that article:
Neither Kellogg nor LIU-Brooklyn administrators shied away from expectations of immediate contention for an NCAA tournament bid. Kellogg said he expects the Blackbirds program to contend immediately, calling Brooklyn the mecca of college basketball, and Cline said she hopes the program is considered one of the top 10 in the nation one day.
“I’m going to have an unrelenting focus to make this a program that will contend for NCAA tournament bids every year and be at the top of the NEC Conference,” Kellogg said. “That’s going to be our goal as a team and I think that should be our goal as a community.
One thing that I feel inclined to point out is this, again from MassLive, where Kellogg and four other current and former coaches were named in a civil suit. It’s not exactly clear what Kellogg’s alleged role might have been. I’m not here to speculate. It’s just not a good look.