Fordham Holds Introductory Press Conference for New Head Coach Keith Urgo


Fordham Basketball looks to continue their upward trajectory under new head coach Keith Urgo. (Courtesy of Twitter)

On April 29, an introductory press conference officially introduced Keith Urgo as the new head coach of Fordham Men’s Basketball. Urgo was accompanied by his family, director of athletics Ed Kull, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, assistant coaches and some players at the press conference along with prominent Fordham administrators and alumni. 

“This is a great day for Fordham,” said McShane as he introduced Urgo. “Keith is a man of great character who understands that his responsibilities not only include being a great recruiter and game coach, but also as a former of young men. He sees his job as coaching and also teaching.” 

McShane also made note of the Fordham background from which Urgo comes. “The Urgo family has been connected to Fordham for decades. He knows Fordham through his father (a Fordham graduate) and mother. That will stand him in good stead as a colleague and companion in mission.”

Kull added, “Keith was a major part of the last 10 months and what we’ve been building in terms of his fingertips and DNA of knowing how to build a program … What Keith helped build at Penn State is remarkable.”

Urgo, 42, now takes his first position as a head coach after serving as an assistant coach at Penn State under Pat Chambers from 2011-2021, where he was named associate head coach in 2013. He was instrumental in every aspect of building the Penn State program from recruiting to in-game schemes and player development. Urgo assisted in two 20+ win seasons at Penn State and an NIT championship in 2018, the second in Nittany Lions history.

Urgo also assisted in assembling Villanova’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes, two that were ranked top three in the country with 2011’s ranked as a top 20 class in the nation.

Known for his player development, Urgo was the main catalyst in bringing Lamar Stevens to State College, currently of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA. 

Alongside Stevens at Penn State, Urgo also brought along Josh Reaves, the 2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Mike Watkins, a Big Ten all-defensive selection, Shep Garner, Tony Carr, NBA veteran Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill, the Belgian National Basketball League Defensive Player of the Year in 2019-20.

When former head coach Kyle Neptune arrived at Fordham in March of 2021, his first hire was Urgo as associate head coach. 

“When coach Neptune came to me and recruited me to join his staff, we kind of talked about being co-head coaches,” said Urgo. “Honestly, his humility to allow me to do what I needed to help the program get to where it got is a testament to him for a first year head coach. To have the humility to take constructive feedback was impressive, and I think it was a partnership.”

Urgo was instrumental in the Rams’ turnaround this year, as he helped design the best defense ever in program history. He also brought along some players with him from Penn State such as sophomore Abdou Tsimbila and freshman Patrick Kelly.

Tsimbila, who played under Urgo as a Nittany Lion in 2020-21, was very complimentary of Urgo not just as a coach, but as a person. “He knows how to treat every player. He doesn’t just treat you like an athlete, he treats you like a human being. He’s a coach but at the same time he’s a father. That’s something you really need as a player.”

Sophomore Antrell Charlton also followed Urgo to Fordham, as he knew him from when he coached his brother, Jamari Wheeler, at Penn State.

“I came here based on my relationship we had previously with my brother,” added Charlton. “And then the first thing my mom and brother told me about coach Urgo is that he is loyal, and he sticks to his word. Whatever he tells you, that’s what it is.”

The public support for Urgo to take over as head coach came from a number of players including Charlton, Kelly, graduate students Darius Quisenberry and Chuba Ohams and junior Kyle Rose

This support meant a lot to Urgo. “Honestly, there’s no greater honor. You don’t coach this game for anything but the relationships. The goal is to build relationships that are authentic and unique and will last a lifetime. To have those guys come out and say that is what it’s about … winning is a byproduct of those relationships.”

With a majority of the Fordham roster and staff staying, not much is expected to change from a basketball standpoint. Urgo looks to keep the momentum going from last year’s 16-16 season and build on what they started as a group. 

“There won’t be a whole lot of change, and coach Neptune and myself come from high level coaches who were very successful, and you put your own stamp on it,” Urgo added. “Last year we came in and had a lot of moving parts. I didn’t get the job until June so more of it was about culture and making sure the brand was good. We spent more time on that than actual basketball.”

Urgo now looks to build off of last season’s success, and does so with adding three freshmen to the Rams in Will Richardson, Angel Montas and Romad Dean. Those three have made up the highest-rated recruiting class at Fordham since 2008, and Richardson being the highest-rated recruit since Jio Fontan who arrived in that 2008 class. Fordham will also be looking to add through the transfer portal and have already done so with graduate student forward Khalid Moore, a tall, defensive minded wing that hails from Archbishop Malloy high school and played the last four years at Georgia Tech. 

And as for Urgo’s staff, he sees them as one of the best in the country. He also credits Kull as someone who is instrumental in helping the revival of Fordham Basketball.

“I can’t thank Ed Kull enough. I think he sees the excitement around the brand and the excitement on campus,” said Urgo. “I think he sees the momentum and wants to take a shot at keeping it going. Obviously, we’ve started from scratch a lot here, so why not try something new?”

With Urgo at the helm, the Fordham men’s basketball team looks to hit the ground running in the fall in what promises to be a successful and exciting campaign.