Rob Krimmel goes way back with Jim Ferry, to even before Ferry was a college head coach, and the Saint Francis coach has tremendous respect for what Penn State’s interim head coach is doing this season.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Krimmel said. “I’ve known Coach Ferry for probably my whole coaching career. He recruited my middle brother (Ken) when he was out at Bentley. … So we’ve known of Coach Ferry for a long time.”
Ferry was an assistant at Bentley University in the late 1990s when he recruited Ken Krimmel, who ultimately went on to play at Penn State. Ferry then got his first head coaching job in 1998 at Plymouth State, went to Adelphi for three seasons and took over at Long Island in the Northeast Conference in 2002.
Krimmel was a Saint Francis assistant coach for all of the 10 years Ferry was at LIU. Ferry then left to become head coach at Duquesne.
“Back when he was the head coach (at LIU) and I was an assistant, he would take time to come up and ask how Kenny was or ask how my family was because of that connection,” Krimmel said.
Their long personal connection, Krimmel noted, is also how Saint Francis wound up playing Duquesne in a home-and-home series when Ferry was there, with one of the games at Johnstown’s Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
“I just have a ton of respect for him,” Krimmel said. “We played obviously when he was at Duquesne, were able to come up and pull that War Memorial game off that meant so much to a lot of people.”
Ferry was an assistant at Penn State for three years before becoming interim head coach job in late October after Patrick Chambers resigned under pressure.
Ferry has the Nittany Lions at 6-7 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten, but the team is No. 29 in the NCAA NET rankings and on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State beat Wisconsin for the first time in 10 years on Saturday, and the teams play again tonight in Madison. Krimmel said he watched a little bit of Saturday’s win by PSU.
“For him to knock off a team like that is certainly a credit to the work that him and his staff are doing, and the players really looked like they really rallied around it,” Krimmel said.
“The situation that he was was put in — and I don’t know all the details — but any time at the beginning of the season and you have to replace a head coach (it’s tough), and with all this stuff on top of what’s going on with the pandemic and the emotions of 18 to 22 year old kids who just lost their head coach. I know him as as a great basketball coach, I know him as a great person and I just admire the work he’s done.”