Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry goes way back with Saint Francis coach Rob Krimmel, having coached against each other for many years when Ferry was at Long Island and Krimmel was an assistant with the Red Flash.
“He’s a very good friend of mine,” Ferry said Tuesday when asked about Krimmel.
“He’s a fantastic human being, not just because he’s from State College,” Ferry added.
Ferry is also very happy that his longtime friend was able to pull off an historic upset last week at Pitt.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that he was able to go on the road and beat Pitt,” Ferry said.
“He’s a fantastic coach. … He gets the most out of every one of his players.”
State College is a mere 60 miles from Saint Francis’ campus in Loretto, but the close proximity has not made it any easier for the two programs to play each other in men’s basketball.
The Nittany Lions haven’t played the Red Flash since 2012, Krimmel’s first season as head coach, and the Flash gave PSU a tough battle in a 65-58 loss at the Jordan Center. Penn State is 9-3 all-time against Saint Francis.
Ferry did say, “We were trying to work out a game this year” against Saint Francis, but it didn’t work out.
Saint Francis has had a very good team for several years now under Krimmel, which can put a small program like Saint Francis in a tough spot. The better you are, the more difficult it can become to convince a lot of major programs to schedule you, even for a money game.
Because what can happen on occasion in those kinds of games is the little school comes in and beats the big school, while also gladly taking home a big check for the game.
Just like Saint Francis did last week at Pitt.
The Red Flash have scheduled games against some of the country’s top programs in recent years, including games at Duke, North Carolina and Louisville. Today at 4 p.m., the Flash are playing at Virginia.
Ferry spent a long time coaching at a small program, Long Island, so he knows how hard it can be to schedule games against bigger programs that might be afraid they’ll lose the game.
Ferry also knows what it’s like on the other side of the equation.
“I got a lot of heck for losing to NJIT when I was at Duquesne, and two days later they beat Michigan,” Ferry said.
The bottom line for any major conference program is to use the non-conference schedule to get ready for your league play. You want to not only get wins, you also don’t want any bad losses.
Saint Francis has been the kind of program for a while that has been capable of potentially dealing a team a bad loss, like it did at Pitt.
“At the stage where Saint Francis is right now, it isn’t about confidence,” Ferry said.
“That was just the next step, and I can see them doing it to other teams.”
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