Keith Dambrot

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Keith Dambrot
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Duquesne
Conference Atlantic 10
Record 2–1 (.667)
Biographical details
Born (1958-10-26) October 26, 1958 (age 59)
Akron, Ohio
Alma mater University of Akron
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1984–1986 Tiffin
1986–1989 Eastern Michigan (asst.)
1989–1991 Ashland
1991–1993 Central Michigan
1998–2001 St. Vincent–St. Mary HS
2001–2004 Akron (asst.)
2004–2017 Akron
2017–present Duquesne
Head coaching record
Overall 415–210 (.664)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
MAC East Division championship (2007, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017)
MAC Tournament championship (2009, 2011, 2013)
Awards
3× MAC Coach of the Year (2013, 2016, 2017)

Keith Brett Dambrot (born October 26, 1958) is an American college basketball coach and the current men's basketball head coach of Duquesne University.

During his high school head coaching career, the future NBA star LeBron James was coached for two years. During 13 seasons of head coaching at the University of Akron, he had a regular game season 305-139 record and was the winningest coach in the program's history.[citation needed]

He is a three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.[1] In 2010, he was elected into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2013 he won the Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award as the country's top Jewish college basketball coach.

Early life[edit]

Dambrot was born in Akron, Ohio, and is Jewish.[2][3] Dambrot's mother, Faye, was a psychology professor at the University of Akron while he was growing up.[4][5] His father Sid Dambrot had played on Duquesne Dukes men's basketball basketball teams ranked No. 1 in the nation from 1952-54.[4][1] His uncle Irwin Dambrot played basketball for the 1950 City College of New York (CCNY) team, the only school to win both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT in the same season, and was the MVP of the NCAA tournament that season and the No. 1 draft pick (selected seventh overall) by the New York Knicks in the 1950 NBA draft.[1]

Dambrot attended Firestone High School, playing baseball and point guard in basketball for the school teams.[5][6][7] In college at the University of Akron, he played third base on the Akron Zips baseball team (of which he was captain and MVP) for the school, establishing what at the time was a school record for career hit by pitch, with 28.[5] He graduated in 1982 with a degree in Management.[4][1] In 1984 he earned an MBA from the University of Akron.[4][1]

Early coaching career[edit]

His first basketball coaching job came while he was a college student, when he helped coach the high school junior varsity at his alma mater Firestone, and they won the Akron City Series JV championship.[4]

Upon graduating college, he started as an assistant basketball coach at Akron.[4]

Dambrot began his head coaching career at Division II schools Tiffin University for two seasons from 1984 to 1986 and at Ashland University for two seasons from 1989 to 1991, At Ashland, he led his team each year into the NCAA D-II Men's Basketball tournament. In between, he was an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University.

Central Michigan University[edit]

At 32 years of age, Dambrot replaced Charlie Coles as coach of Central Michigan University for the 1991–92 season.[4] He coached the team for two seasons, and was fired for making a controversial comment before a game against Miami University. He had asked the players if he could use a controversial word in addressing the team before he actually did, and they agreed, but he still was fired.[8] He sued the university in a wrongful discrimination lawsuit, and all 11 black players on the team joined him in the suit, claiming the university's policy against discriminatory language was too vague, but he lost the suit, though the students prevailed in overturning the school's language policy.[9]

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School[edit]

The incident at Central Michigan had essentially blackballed Dambrot from college coaching. Dambrot was only able to coach was at the Akron Jewish Community Center and in some summer leagues.[8] In 1998, he became the head coach at St. Vincent–St. Mary HS in Akron, Ohio. During his three seasons there, he guided the Fighting Irish to a 69–10 record. During the last two years of his tenure as coach there, future NBA star LeBron James was on his squad, and they won two consecutive state championships, as well as were nationally ranked. James took part in $1 clinics Dambrot conducted at the local Jewish Community Center.[1] Before playing for Dambrot, James had met with him, and followed up on the accusations made about him during his stint at Central Michigan. In his book, Shooting Stars, James said that he did not believe that Dambrot was a racist.[10]

University of Akron[edit]

Dambrot left St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2001 to return to coaching as an assistant at the collegiate level at his alma mater, the University of Akron. Since becoming the head coach of Akron in 2004, Dambrot led Akron to the postseason in four-straight and five of the last six seasons – participating in the NCAA Tournament in 2009, 2011 and 2013, the National Invitation Tournament in 2008 and 2006 and the College Basketball invitational (CBI) in 2010. Akron has won 20-plus games in each of the last six years – one of only 20 teams in the country to do so – and posted 19 victories in Dambrot's first season (2004–05). Only three other schools in the nation - also Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas - had accomplished that feat.[1] The Zips have won at least 21 games in each of the 12 seasons – a feat unmatched in program history. Additionally, Akron has competed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament title game in six of the last eight years and is just the second league school to have appeared in at least five-straight finals (Miami (Ohio) 1997–2001).

In his first seven seasons in charge of the program, Akron amassed a 162–75 (.684) overall record, including an 80–36 mark in MAC play and a 91–15 tally in home games (50–8 in MAC play at home). Those 162 victories tied for the most by a MAC team and tied for 29th-best nationally during that seven-season span. In 13 seasons as a collegiate head coach he owned a 270–145 (.651) overall record. Dambrot entered the season in fifth place in league history with a .628 win percentage while coaching in the MAC (182–109 overall; 162–75 Akron, 20–34 CMU), eighth in overall wins (182), 11th in league games winning percentage (.600, 90–60) and 10th in conference wins (90).

Named the 2009 Best Mid-Major Coach by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, Dambrot's time at UA was highlighted by mentoring a total of 20 All-MAC honorees, 10 MAC All-Tournament selections, two tournament MVPs and one player of the year honor. Also during his watch, seven players were added to the school's 1,000-point scorer's list and he coached Akron's all-time assists leader (Dru Joyce, 503), all-time blocked shots leader (Romeo Travis, 165), all-time winningest player (Chris McKnight, 97 victories over a four-season span) and the all-time games played leader (Steve McNees, 141).

The list of accolades received by UA players over the last seven seasons also include Romeo Travis being named Honorable Mention All-America (the program's first such honoree since 1989) and MAC Player of the Year (first in program history) in 2007, Cedrick Middleton (2007) and Brett McKnight (2009) earning MAC Sixth Man of the Year (only two honors of that kind in program history), and Nate Linhart (2009) and Jimmy Conyers (2010) being selected as the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. Linhart also earned league tournament MVP honors in 2009. In 2011, Zeke Marshall earned league tournament MVP honors after helping the Zips to their second MAC title in three seasons.

In 2010, Dambrot was elected into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and at The University of Akron as both a student-athlete and head coach. He was also a finalist for the Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award, which is awarded by the Jewish Coaches Association.[11] In 2013, he won the Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award as the country's top Jewish college basketball coach, and was named the MAC Coach of the Year.[5][2]

Dambrot left Akron after 13 seasons, with a 305-139 record, as the winningest coach in school history.[12] He won back-to-back Mid-American Conference regular season titles, in 2016 and 2017, and coach of the year honors those seasons.[12] The team averaged 23.5 wins during his tenure.[13] His teams won 21 games or more in each of his last 12 seasons, a feat matched during that time by only Duke, Kansas and Gonzaga.[14] In his career, Dambrot took the team to three NCAA Tournaments and five NIT appearances.[12]

Duquesne University[edit]

On March 30, 2017, Dambrot was named the 17th head coach at Duquesne in the school's 101-year history.[15][1] He signed a 7-year, $7 million contract.[16] The Dukes had finished 10-22 the season before he took over as head coach.[14]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Tiffin (Division II independent) (1984–1986)
1984–85 Tiffin 16–14
1985–86 Tiffin 24–9
Tiffin: 40–23 (.635)
Ashland (Great Lakes Valley Conference) (1989–1991)
1989–90 Ashland 22–8 13–5 T–2nd NCAA D–II Second Round
1990–91 Ashland 26–5 14–4 T–1st NCAA D–II Elite Eight
Ashland: 48–13 (.787) 27–9 (.750)
Central Michigan (Mid-American Conference) (1991–1993)
1991–92 Central Michigan 12–16 6–10 T–6th
1992–93 Central Michigan 8–18 4–14 9th
Central Michigan: 20–34 (.370) 10–24 (.294)
Akron (Mid-American Conference) (2004–2017)
2004–05 Akron 19–10 11–7 T–2nd (East)
2005–06 Akron 23–10 14–4 T–2nd (East) NIT Second Round
2006–07 Akron 26–7 13–3 1st (East)
2007–08 Akron 24–11 11–5 2nd (East) NIT Second Round
2008–09 Akron 23–13 10–6 3rd (East) NCAA Round of 64
2009–10 Akron 24–11 12–4 2nd (East) CBI First Round
2010–11 Akron 23–13 9–7 T–3rd (East) NCAA Round of 64
2011–12 Akron 22–12 13–3 1st (East) NIT First Round
2012–13 Akron 26–7 14–2 T–1st (East) NCAA Round of 64
2013–14 Akron 21–13 12–6 2nd (East) CIT First Round
2014–15 Akron 21–14 9–9 4th (East)
2015–16 Akron 26–9 13–5 1st (East) NIT First Round
2016–17 Akron 27–9 14–4 1st (East) NIT Second Round
Akron: 305–139 (.687) 155–65 (.705)
Duquesne (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2017–present)
2017–18 Duquesne 2–1 0–0
Duquesne: 2–1 (.667) – (–)
Total: 415–210 (.664)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]

References[edit]