Welcome to 'Dru-quesne.' Duquesne promotes Dru Joyce to take over after Keith Dambrot's retirement

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Duquesne didn't look far to replace retired head coach Keith Dambrot.

The Dukes promoted assistant Dru Joyce on Thursday to take over for Dambrot, who stepped down last week after leading the school to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1977.

“Dru exhibited a clear vision for our program going forward and understands the challenge of keeping our recent success a possibility in the years ahead,” Duquesne athletic director Dave Harper said in a statement. "It’s now imperative that we support him, his staff and the program with all that is needed to continue to be successful.”

Joyce spent the last two seasons sitting next to Dambrot on the Duquesne bench. The Dukes have a 45-25 record over that span, including a 25-12 record this season. Duquesne won the Atlantic 10 tournament and then beat sixth-seeded BYU in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to third-seeded Illinois.

Joyce, a lifelong friend and former high school teammate of NBA star LeBron James, said in a statement he has wanted to be a Division I coach since he was a teenager.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue to make an impact with the student-athletes, coaches and staff to make our program one that Duquesne and the surrounding region can be proud of,” Joyce said.

James gave his good friend a shoutout in a post on X.

“So damn happy and proud of you my brother,” James wrote.

Duquesne president Ken Gormley called Joyce a “key figure” in the school's return to contention.

“Dru is already a respected, valued and admired member of the Duquesne family,” Gormely said. “For that reason, this was an easy decision.”

Joyce, 39, played with James at St. Vincent-St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio, in the early 2000s before spending four years at Akron. He went into coaching in 2019, serving as an assistant at Cleveland State before joining Dambrot at Duquesne.


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