Duquesne elevates Dru Joyce III to succeed retired coach Keith Dambrot

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 4:54 PM

Duquesne has promoted Dru Joyce III to replace retired coach Keith Dambrot, the university announced Thursday.

Dambrot had coached Joyce and teammate LeBron James in high school in Akron, Ohio, before moving on to the college ranks. Joyce served as Dambrot’s associate head coach the past two seasons.

The Dukes extended Dambrot’s 40-year career — the last seven at Duquesne — by winning four games in five days to capture the Atlantic 10 tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament — the program’s first since 1977.

Duquesne, an 11th seed, beat No. 6 seed BYU 71-67 for its first tournament win since 1969 before falling to Illinois and finishing 25-12.

“Knowing of Coach Dambrot’s potential retirement, a full vetting and search process was launched,”athletic director Dave Harper said in a news release on Thursday. “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. It’s now imperative that we support him, his staff and the program with all that is needed to continue to be successful.”

Joyce, 39, has experienced success as a player and coach, dating back to 1999-2000, when Joyce was the point guard for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron. Dambrot coached the team for two seasons and left to become an assistant at the University of Akron and later the head coach, again coaching Joyce. His father, Dru Joyce II, became coach at the high school.

Joyce III later played professionally in Europe for 12 seasons in Germany, Poland, Russia and France. He then began coaching, spending three seasons as an assistant at Cleveland State before joining Dambrot in Pittsburgh at Duquesne.

“I’ve wanted to be an NCAA Division I head coach since I was 14 years old, so I’m overwhelmed with joy to be named the next head coach at Duquesne University,” Joyce said in the news release. “I’d like to thank Duquesne University president Ken Gormley, director of athletics Dave Harper and the board of trustees for this unbelievable opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to expanding on the legacy that Keith Dambrot has built the last seven years,” he continued, “and 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.”

–Field Level Media