Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot retiring after NCAA tourney

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Duquesne men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot announced Monday that he will retire following the Dukes’ first appearance at the NCAA Tournament since 1977.

Dambrot, 65, has spent the last seven seasons at Duquesne, capping a 40-year career that includes coaching NBA superstar LeBron James in high school.

Duquesne (24-11) won four games in five days to capture the Atlantic 10 tournament championship. The 11th-seeded Dukes will face No. 6 seed BYU (23-10) on Thursday in Omaha, Neb.

“I appreciate all the people of Pittsburgh,” Dambrot said in a statement. “I’m glad I made the decision to come here. It was challenging. Hopefully, we still have a good amount of games left. I told the guys ‘We’re good enough to win. We’re going to try to win. We’re going to finish it off strong.'”

Dambrot has compiled a 115-95 record at Duquesne and is 440-268 overall in 22 seasons in Division I, including his tenures at Central Michigan (1991-93) and Akron (2004-17). He left Akron as the winningest coach in Zips history.

“Keith Dambrot has brought us to this place almost single-handedly,” Duquesne president Ken Gormley said Monday. “These are the new glory days of Duquesne and it is the Dambrot era. There will be a new era after that because Keith has been building it and he is a meticulous guy.

“Keith was truly born to be a leader of the Duquesne Dukes. He is a little guy, but he is tough and tenacious and he has willed (his program) to national prominence.”

He made three NCAA Tournament appearances at Akron and was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

Dambrot coached James, now the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, for two years at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Ohio.