AKRON In a surprising move announced Monday, the University of Akron announced the departure of head men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot as reports surfaced from multiple national media outlets that the veteran coach had agreed to a seven-year deal with Duquesne.
Dambrot led Akron for 13 seasons, compiling a 305-159 record and leading the Zips to three Mid-American Conference titles, four NCAA Tournament appearances and five NIT berths. This season, Akron set a Division I program record for wins, going 27-9 and defeating Houston in the first round of the NIT before falling to the University of Texas-Arlington.
Akron released a statement on its athletics website thanking Dambrot for his contributions to the program and university.
“We are very grateful for the enormous contributions that coach Keith Dambrot has made to our excellent men's basketball program. His hard work with our student-athletes, combined with their dedication to going the extra mile, have brought great success to The University of Akron – including the winningest season in UA history – and we value his role in making that happen,” UA athletic director Larry Williams said in the statement. “He and the Dambrot family will always be a part of The University of Akron family, and we wish him well as he moves along.”
According to the statement, UA will immediately begin a national search for its next head coach. The statement did not reference the remainder of Dambrot’s coaching staff at Akron, which includes assistant coach Terry Weigand, who has been with Dambrot for his entire tenure with the Zips, and Rick McFadden, who played for Dambrot at Akron and has been on the coaching staff for 12 years.
Duquesne has pursued Dambrot for its head coaching job before and he has declined other past offers to leave Akron. At the team’s media day prior to this season, he expressed a desire to ensure that before he retired - presumably at Akron - the program would get either a new arena or extensive renovations to aging Rhodes Arena.