_If you were paying attention to Temple coach Fran Dunphy on the sidelines Saturday at the Palestra, then you saw Dave Duke sitting by him too. Duke served as an assistant under Dunphy at Penn from 1998-06, moving with Dunphy to Temple. _
Daily Pennsylvanian: What are some of the highlights that stand out to you about your time coaching Penn basketball?
Dave Duke: Well just to have the privilege of coaching in the Palestra. I came from Lehigh University – I was the head coach at Lehigh. And it was a chance to coach in the Big 5. I’m from Philadelphia, I was at Neumann Goretti, the high school. That’s where I coached before Lehigh. It was a chance to coach in the Big 5 and work at the Palestra, to work for a storied program. Penn has a great tradition.
DP: How do you feel like the program evolved from the time you got there to the time you left?
DD: Well we had some good teams, we had some good players. I was there eight years, we went to the NCAA tournament six years. Princeton won it the other two years. It was Penn and Princeton every year winning the Ivy, up until Cornell got in there three years in a row. We were over at Temple [then].
DP: I know you came from the USBL before coming to Penn …
DD: I just did that one year, I was at Lehigh for 11 years though. I was just one year at the USBL. Back then, it was a minor league. It was unique because it was April, May, June, July, when the season was over.
DP: How did you get the position at Penn, what was that process like for you?
DD: Well I had known coach Dunphy, and there was an opening for one of the assistants. I know Fran Dunphy pretty well. I was thinking maybe another year in the USBL, trying to get on a team in the NBA, maybe as a scout or something like that. Missed opportunities. Back in Philly, to be an assistant at a Big 5 school and a place like Penn, I just couldn’t pass it up.
DP: I know that you graduated from Villanova. What was it like being part of Big 5 basketball back in the ’70s?
DD: Well that was a great time in Villanova then with ’71, my freshman year. In the Final Four, [we] lost to UCLA. That was a really good team. I tried to walk on a couple years, didn’t make it. That got me started in coaching, I started coaching seventh-grade, eighth-grade level when I was still in college. It was watching those games and following all those big games in the ’70s, that developed my love of the Big 5.
DP: Being associated with Villanova and St. John Neumann like you were, how did that help you with recruiting and doing the coaching legwork that you’ve done at Penn and Temple?
DD: It helped with meeting a lot of people, having a lot of connections. All the high school coaches I coached against, guys I worked camps with in the summer. Of course the Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware area. It helped a great deal for the local guys. Being able to work some camps in that way and some high school scouting, it was pretty good and did some traveling too in the D.C. and Baltimore area and got to know some of those coaches. It helped with recruiting when I went up to Lehigh.
DP: Was there any particular team or group of players that stood out to you during your time at Penn as standing out to you?
DD: A lot of them, my first couple years. Matt Langel, Jed Ryan, Geoff Owens. They were already established in the program, so getting a chance to coach them. Having the good fortune myself to recruit really good players like Tim Begley, Jeff Schiffner, Ibby Jabber, Mark Zoller, Steve Danley and a couple of California guys, Koko Archibong, Eric Osmond. And then of course, there’s [Ugonna] Onyekwe, who coach Jackson, Phil Jackson, did a great job with.
So I had a chance to be involved with recruits, see these guys come in, watch these established guys the first couple years and then be involved in helping to put together the program the other years. I got to meet some great guys and make some great memories then.
DP: Was it tough to leave Penn for Temple for you?
DD: You’re still in the city of Philadelphia, at another Big 5 school now. So you’re in another great place with tradition, sixth all-time winningest program and Penn might be seventh or eighth. So two of the top ten winning-est programs. Just leaving some of the guys that were there. We left a team, they were all juniors, we won the Ivy League, and they were all still there and the younger guys we recruited. The year or two just following them it was tough. But we had our challenges worse at Temple.
DP: What do you think of how the Penn basketball program has developed since you left seven years ago?
DD: Well I think they have some other players involved with the Harvards and the Cornells and some of the other teams getting in the league better. I think Penn has a real good team next year, they’ve got some good young players and they can really score and they’re good athletes. I think Jerome will get them there this year and they’re playing much better defense and they’re buying into what Jerome does. With Zack Rosen they were there, maybe a game or so out when Zack was a senior, so I think they’ll going to continue to be all right.
DP: Anything else you would like to add about your time at Penn?
DD: I was an assistant. Just so many thing that happened in one or two years early on. We were able to beat a Temple team that was ranked No. 3 or 4 and they just beaten Michigan. And that year we lost to Princeton, we were up 33-9 at halftime and we were had maybe a 13-game winning streak and they came storming back and we missed a shot at the buzzer and it was a crushing loss to a rival. But we got it together and won the next 8 or 9 games and beat Princeton the second time and we won the Ivy ring. Great memories at Penn.Comments powered by Disqus
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