Conroy plans on building Tulane back into winner

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by Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports

wwltv.com

Posted on April 7, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 7 at 10:55 PM

NEW ORLEANS ― Ed Conroy hopes to succeed where few other Tulane men’s basketball coaches have before – on the floor and in the record books.

And he plans on doing it the same way he did at The Citadel, from the ground up.

It all started for Conroy on Wednesday afternoon when he was officially announced as the Green Wave’s latest leader, taking over for Dave Dickerson, who was let go a week ago.

“What we’re focusing on is moving forward,” Conroy said. “I don’t know all the things that went into the last (few years). But I’ve been in other programs and what works for us is the plan we lay out, how we focus on the development of those players, how there’s a clear picture of what we’re going after in the recruiting process and how we want to play and what fits for me.”

Conroy, 43, will have to take a Tulane program that finished 68-84 the past five seasons under Dickerson. While Fogelman Arena will not be getting a facelift, the school announced Thursday that it will break ground on a new basketball and volleyball practice facility sometime during the next academic year.

The practice facility, meanwhile, played a big part in getting Conroy to sign on.

“Because that maybe has been something that held them back in the past and hearing that that facility was on its way and maybe other things about Tulane being committed to moving forward with athletics,” Conroy said.

Conroy emerged from a group of candidates that included current Robert Morris Head Coach Mike Rice and former Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent. Tulane Athletics Director Rick Dickson said Conroy was the only man offered the job.

What stood out to Dickson about Conroy was his background at The Citadel, a military school in Charleston, S.C. that could be seen as more difficult to recruit to than Tulane.

“You’ve got o basically convince (recruits) to wear two uniforms, not only in basketball but one every day,” Dickson said. “Some would say it’s impossible, others would say it’s a unique challenge. That’s how I viewed it.

“It was a combination of in those settings, really being passionate about it and believing in that type of where they were and what they were doing was the right thing.”

The recruiting started immediately for Conroy, who must convince those remaining in the program to stick around and learn a new offense and coaching staff.

“It’s developing that trust,” Conroy said. “They need to talk to me and make a determination if they trust that I have their best interest at heart and that we have something to offer them. Can we help them reach their goals?

“I don’t think there’s any question that Tulane hasn’t changed and so for the reasons they chose Tulane, they’re still there.”

Besides at The Citadel, Conroy has head coaching experience at Francis Marion. He also has been an assistant at Tennessee, N.C. State, Furman and VMI.

His overall record as a head coach is 90-133, including 49-79 in Division I. But in his final two seasons at The Citadel, he went 20-13 and 16-16.

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