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Perri Out After Five Seasons As Men’s Basketball Head Coach Blackbirds Stunned After Sudden Departure

By: Brandon Glogau & Michael Chin

After five seasons as the head coach of the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds men’s basketball team, and a recently concluded 20-win season, which resulted in a second seed showing in the 2016-2017 Northeast Conference standings, LIU has severed ties with head coach Jack Perri by declining to renew his expiring contract. ESPN college basketball insider Jeff Goodman first broke the news on March 20 on Twitter. “LIU-Brooklyn has parted ways with Jack Perri, multiple reports told ESPN,” Goodman wrote. When the news broke, Seawanhaka was in the process of coordinating its annual end-of-year interview with Perri. Perri has spent twelve years at LIU, first serving as an assistant coach under Jim Ferry. When Ferry left the Brooklyn Campus to become the head coach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Perri was named Blackbirds head coach in the 2012-2013 season. Perri went on to lead the Blackbirds to five NEC and two NCAA tournament appearances. He also coached ten players who received All-NEC honors and was named the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach.

 Closer Look at Perri’s Track Record

During his time as an assistant head coach at LI, Perri helped to recruit many talented players to the Brooklyn Campus, including Jason Brickman, who is ranked fourth on the NCAA’s all-time assists leaders with 1,009 throughout his career at LIU from 2010-2014. Perri also has coached three NEC Player of the Year winners in Julian Boyd (2011-2012), Jamal Olasewere (2012-2013), and most recently Jerome Frink (2016-2017).

LIU Responds

Shortly after news of Perri’s departure broke, Director of Athletics Brad Cohen released the following statement, “LIU Brooklyn has informed head men’s basketball coach John Perri that it will not renew his contract, which expires in August. 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.”

Even before Perri’s departure was confirmed, a stream of posts that praised the ex-Blackbirds coach appeared on social media. This included LIU Brooklyn all-time leading scorer, a three-time NEC champion, and a NEC Player of the Year, Jamal Olasewere. “LIU HAS MADE THE WORST DECISION IN LETTING PERRI GO,” said Olasewere. “20 win season and 2nd in NEC. Doesn’t make sense. OVERACHIEVED this year.”

Bronx native, and former Blackbird’s Basketball player Gerrell Martin took to Facebook to share his thoughts on Perri: “From the bottom of my heart I just want to say thank you coach for everything you have done for me. You always had the upmost confidence in me since recruiting me,” he wrote. “Throughout my four years, you have helped me grow into not only a better basketball player, but a better MAN as well,” Martin wrote. Seawanhaka attempted to reach Perri, who did not respond to a request to comment.

Who’s Got Next?

The search for Perri’s replacement is now underway. According to published reports, LIU has approached Larry Brown, a veteran NBA and NCAA coach, about the job. Brown, whose last coached the men’s basketball team at Southern Methodist University in Highland Park, Texas before stepping down last year, led eight different NBA teams to the playoffs. This included the Detroit Pistons, which won the 2004 NBA title; he also coached the New York Knicks in the 2005-2006 season. Should Brown be hired, he would be the latest high-profile person to join LIU. Late last year, the university announced the hiring of former New York Congressman Steve Israel as chairman of the LIU Global Institute and a distinguished writer-in-residence.

Category: News