Former Oneonta State baseball coach Rick Ferchen has taken over Keuka College’s Division III program, the Storm announced via email Thursday.
Ferchen will coach a Keuka team that rebounded from an 0-11 start last season to finish 12-19. The Storm’s 12 victories marked their most in a season since 2006.
“Keuka was exactly what I was looking for in a coaching position,” Ferchen said in a media release prepared by Keuka. “I enjoy the competition of Division III athletics, the philosophy and what it means to be a student-athlete. ... I wanted the opportunity to develop another program into a winner. That’s been the story of my career: Turning programs that may be struggling and transforming them into winners.”
Ferchen, 56, spent 16 seasons as the head coach at O-State, going 400-240-4 from 1995-2011. The Red Dragons dismissed Ferchen on Jan. 4, 2012, but refused to comment on why the two-time SUNY Athletic Conference Coach of the Year was let go. Citing a no-comment policy on personnel matters, O-State Director of Communications Hal Legg wrote in a January 2012 email to The Daily Star that Ferchen “no longer is affiliated with SUNY Oneonta.”
At the time, Ferchen said he had been advised by a union representative to avoid discussing the specifics of his departure from O-State. Neither the college nor Ferchen referred to his dismissal as a firing, although Ferchen did say in January 2012 that he did not leave O-State on his own.
The Red Dragons went 21-17 in Ferchen’s final season. Benjamin Grimm was appointed as Oneonta’s interim head coach shortly after Ferchen was relieved of his duties. Grimm officially became O-State’s head coach in July 2012 and has held the position since.
Ferchen’s 30-year career record of 715-497-17 includes six seasons at D-I Valparaiso — his alma mater — and eight at D-III Hobart College. Valparaiso went 147-137-8 under Ferchen, who had a 168-120-5 record at Hobart. Ferchen won conference Coach of the Year honors twice at each college.
He went on to lead the Red Dragons to 13 appearances in the SUNYAC Tournament, 11 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament and three 30-win seasons. O-State also reached the NCAA D-III Tournament for the first time in 2010, when it went 31-13 under Ferchen.
A native of Niagara Falls, Ferchen graduated from Valparaiso in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates and played one New York-Penn League season for Niagara in 1978 but returned to Valparaiso to pursue a master’s degree in arts and liberal studies.
Cobleskill grad also hired
Cobleskill native and SUNY Cobleskill graduate Brennan McCarthy, 25, also has joined the Keuka coaching staff as an assistant men’s basketball coach and the head men’s and women’s golf coach.
McCarthy will assist Thad Phillips in men’s basketball and will take over for Phillips as the coach of the golf teams.
McCarthy spent the last two men’s basketball seasons as a graduate assistant coach for Frostburg State University (Md.). He played two seasons for SUNY Cobleskill, helping the Fighting Tigers to the NJCAA final four in 2007-08, and was a member of Brockport’s 2008-09 SUNYAC championship team that reached the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The Storm finished last basketball season 10-13 overall and 8-7 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, which is also home to SUNY Cobleskill.