PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2015-16 men’s basketball season one was a difficult one for Drexel University.
The Dragons went just 6-25 and the struggles led to a head coaching change. After 15 years the university parted ways with Bruiser Flint.
On Tuesday, Drexel introduced the man who is taking over the reigns at the DAC, Zach Spiker.
“I’m excited to be here in the city of Philadelphia,” Spiker told KYW Newsradio following his introductory press conference, “and honored to be a part of such a great basketball city.”
Listen to the entire interview with Drexel’s Zach Spiker:
The 39-year-old Spiker comes to Drexel after spending seven years as the head coach at Army. This past season, he led the Black Knights to a 19-14 record. During his time at West Point, Spiker went 102-112. He was the 2013 Patriot League Coach of the Year.
“It’s (Army) the #1 leadership institution in the world,” Spiker says. “It’s a special, special place that attracts a special, special type of young man. It’s a very demanding environment. I leave Army a better coach then I was when I got there, having to navigate all of those different challenges.”
He says the opportunity here at Drexel was the right one at the right time.
“When you get a chance to be in the city of Philadelphia and be around the Drexel community,” Spiker says, “it just feels like a true family atmosphere. That’s something my wife Jen and I value very much. It felt like the right fit, for sure.”
Prior to his time at Army, Spiker was an assistant coach at Cornell. The head coach of the Big Red at that time was Steve Donahue who of course is now the head coach at Drexel’s neighbor, Penn. Spiker says he learned a lot while on Donahue’s staff.
“Coach Donahue,” Spiker says, “probably as much as any coach I’ve had a chance to work for, helped me see exactly what it meant to have the right relationship with players. He would always tell me,’You’ve got to know your players, and then know them some more.’ That’s something I’ve carried with me from that day on. We’re going to put that into place very quickly and spend as much time as we can with the guys on this roster right now and equip them to play with a great deal of confidence and do what they can be successful at on the court.”
Spiker is also looking forward to catching up with his former boss.
“Thrilled and excited to be just down the street from him and keep in touch on a daily basis,” Spiker says.
Spiker is the sixth head coach for the Dragons since the school became a Division I member.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.