Keith Dambrot, who built Akron into one of the most successful - and most respected - programs in the Mid-American Conference over 13 seasons, was named head men’s basketball coach at Duquesne University on March 28, 2017. Dambrot, whose father Sid played for Duquesne from 1952-54, posted a school record 305 wins at Akron. The three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, went 155-65 in regular-season conference play and 27-10 in 13 MAC Tournament appearances - highlighted by tournament championships and NCAA tournament bids in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The Akron native, who led the Zips to 10 postseason appearances, is the 17th head coach in the 102-year history of Duquesne basketball.
DUQUESNE HIGHLIGHTS In 2017-18 • Guided a team picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll to 16 wins and a 10th place conference finish. The 16 wins were the most by a DU first-year coach since Dudey Moore went 17-5 in 1948-49. • Engineered the seventh-best single-season improvement in school history in taking the Dukes from a 10-22 record in 2016-17 to 16-16 in 2017-18. • Led the Dukes to a seven-game win streak from December 4 through December 22. It was the program’s longest win streak since 2010-11 (11 in a row). DU’s eight December wins (8-2) were the most in the month since the 1971-72 team went 8-0. • Duquesne’s 13 home wins (13-6) were the most in 30 seasons of play at the Palumbo Center. • The Dukes held opponents to 70.2 points per game, it was the lowest opponent scoring average since 2010-11 (68.0 ppg.). It was just the second time in 32 years that DU held opponents under 71 points per game.
AKRON HIGHLIGHTS • In his 13 seasons at Akron, Dambrot’s Zips finished no worse than third 12 times in regular season play. His teams averaged 23.5 wins in annually contending for the MAC title. • Took over at his alma mater prior to the 2004-05 season and immediately put his stamp on the program by leading the Zips to a 19-10 record. The 19 wins were the program’s most since 1989. • In year two, UA posted 23 wins and in 2006-07 Dambrot began a stretch of seven-straight MAC Tournament championship game appearances. • In 2015-16, Akron set the MAC record for the longest streak of consecutive semifinal appearances in MAC Tournament history at 11. The Zips made it 12 in a row in 2016-17, on the way to a program-best 27 wins (27-9). • Dambrot, who was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2013, 2016 and 2017, coached a total of 18 Akron players who earned first, second or third team all-conference honors. • Coached the MAC’s all-time leading shot blocker, Pittsburgh native Zeke Marshall (368 blocks), Akron’s all-time assists leader Dru Joyce (503), UA’s all-time winningest player Chris McKnight (97 victories over a four-season span) and Akron’s all-time games played leaders in Steve McNees and Nikola Cvetinovic (141). • Brought national attention to the Akron program with a Division I-best 19-game winning streak in 2012-13. The Zips earned the No. 24 ranking in the Feb. 25 USA Today Coaches Poll that season, marking the first national ranking in program history. • In 2014-15, Akron posted a 2-2 record against Power Five conference opponents, marking the first time in program history that Akron had at least two wins over Power Five members (Southern California and South Carolina) in the same season. • Led Akron to its first-ever victories over schools from the Atlantic Coast Conference (at Florida State in the 2008 NIT) and Southeastern Conference (vs. Mississippi State in 2005-06). • Left Akron with a 413-209 overall record in 19 seasons as a head coach.
EARLY HISTORY • Got his start in coaching at Akron, where he spent two years as a graduate assistant and one season as a full-time assistant before taking the head coaching job at Tiffin. In his second season (1985-86), he led the Dragons to the most single-season wins in school history (24). • In 1986, he made his first venture into the MAC, starting a three-year run as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan where he worked under head coach Ben Braun. In 1988, the Hurons won their first-ever MAC championship and made their first NCAA tournament appearance. • Returned to northeast Ohio in 1989 as head coach at Ashland where, in two years, he led the Eagles to a 48-13 overall mark, two final national rankings and the school’s first-ever conference and regional championships. • In 1991, he returned to the MAC and took on his first Division I head coaching role at Central Michigan where he spent two seasons. His 1992 recruiting class was ranked 15th in the nation by Hoop Scoop Magazine.
COACHING TREE • In his 19 years as a head coach, Dambrot has seen a number of his former assistants enjoy success at the Division I level, including Chattanooga head coach Lamont Paris and Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals. • Shaka Smart, a Dambrot assistant from 2003-06, made stops at Clemson (2006-08) and Florida (2008-09) before taking his first head coach position at VCU in 2009. Smart, who went on to lead VCU to the 2011 Final Four, was named head coach at Texas in April of 2015.
DAMBROT AND LEBRON • Prior to beginning his assistant coaching tenure at Akron in 2001, Dambrot compiled a 69-10 record in three seasons as head coach at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. In his final two seasons, the Irish - led by freshman then sophomore LeBron James - were state champions and earned national rankings from USA Today. • Played a role in the development of James who, at the age of 13, participated in $1 clinics Dambrot conducted at the local Jewish Community Center.
PERSONAL • Was inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 for his contributions at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and the University of Akron as both a student-athlete and head coach. • Akron native graduated from UA with a degree in management in 1982, and added a master’s in business administration from his alma mater in 1984. • Was a three-year starter, captain and team MVP as a third baseman for the Akron baseball team as an undergrad. Finished his career as the school record holder for hit by pitches (28). • His late uncle, Irwin Dambrot, played for the 1950 City College of New York (CCNY) squad, which is the only school to win both the NCAA Tournament and NIT in the same season. Irwin was the MVP of the NCAA tournament that season and the No. 1 draft pick (selected seventh overall) by the New York Knicks that same year. • His father, Sid, was part of Duquesne teams that finished ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 in 1952 (No. 4), 1953 (No. 9) and 1954 (No. 5). The 1954 team, which went 26-3, made it to No. 1 in the AP poll for two weeks in February of 1954. The Dukes played in both the NCAA tournament and NIT in `52 and the NIT in both `53 and `54. • Dambrot and his wife, Donna, have two children, daughter Alysse and son Rob. Alysse earned her undergraduate degree as well as an MBA from Akron. Rob is currently a senior on the Pitt soccer team. • Has served as a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, where he was committee chairman from August 2015 through August 2017.