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Bayside’s Duke stays on with new coach

Tom Pecora wasn’t the only one with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, shaking hands as if he was a politician looking for votes at Hofstra’s University Club last Wednesday.

David Duke, a 25-year-old Bayside native, was probably the second happiest man in the room that day after learning he would be retained as an assistant coach.

“He is great. I’m really excited to be staying,” said the Cardozo alum. “Working with Coach Wright and Tom I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I just want to help him and be with him and be his right man, do whatever he needs to keep the success that we’ve had here up.”

Duke will begin his second year as a Hofstra assistant coach and is the only member of the coaching staff back after Jay Wright resigned as Hofstra head coach to accept the vacant head coaching position at Villanova University. Brett Gunning, who was a seven-year assistant under Wright at Hofstra, also made the move.

While Pecora still has to hire two more assistant coaches to fill his staff, he said things will be the same.

“The formula here is not going to change — it’s going to be about hard work, it’s going to be about honesty and it’s going to be about recruiting quality people and I know we can do that once again,” he said.

After Pecora accepted the head coaching position he and Duke went to dinner Tuesday to discuss Duke’s responsibilities for the upcoming season.

“From what we’ve talked about, what he demands of the players and the assistants is excellence,” he said. “That’s why Coach Wright is great and that’s why Tom is going to be great as well. He’s a great guy, a great recruiter — what I can learn from him is unlimited.”

Duke said while a lot of his job has yet to be defined next year, he will again be responsible for tape exchange and scouting, which could be a more daunting task with the Pride moving to the Colonial Athletic Association as early as next year.

“This summer, I am going to run the camps and when all the guys are set with the workouts and their school, I want to stay in the office and start watching tape,” he said. “I want to start looking at next year’s teams to help prepare us for next year.”

Before being named assistant coach, Duke was a graduate assistant manager for the Pride for two years. He is a 1997 graduate of the University of Albany where he majored in communications and minored in education.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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