After six years at Arizona State, including five as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, Scott Pera has accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, ASUDevils.com was first to report.
Pera, who arrived at ASU in 2006 as Director of Basketball Operations before moving into an assistant coach's role a year later, will become the No. 1 assistant under Jerome Allen, who became Penn's coach in March of 2010.
"The initial involvement was through a mutual friend with coach Allen and I," Pera said. "Basically, it was, 'hey this seems to me to make tremendous sense,' it intrigued me from there, Jerome did his homework on me, then connections come into play, people that know me and know Jerome connected the dots, we talked through it, had a lot in common, I became more interested and it led to us coming to an agreement."
Prior to arriving at ASU, Pera coached six years at Artesia High in Southern California, where he led the school to a 33-1 record and state championship in his final season in 2006, earning Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press Telegram Coach of the Year honors.
ASU all-time assist leader Derek Glasser and current NBA star James Harden played at Artesia under Pera. All three men played enormous roles in the Sun Devils' nation-best 13 game increase in the win column from the 2006-07 to 2007-08 seasons. That provided the momentum that ultimately led to ASU's first three straight 20-win seasons in nearly half a century.
"I'm grateful for time spent here under the tutelage of someone as knowledgeable and established in this profession as coach (Herb) Sendek," Pera said, "and feel fortunate to have worked with such outstanding assitant coaches, a couple of whom, Mark Phelps at Drake and Archie Miller at Dayton, have become head coaches, as well as Lamont Smith and Dedrique Taylor, who are extremely talented and will become head coaches. It's been a honor to work with them and invaluable experience to be a part of the program and Arizona State is a great place. We love it here and have great friends and there's a lot of things we'll miss.
"It's the first time I've done something like this, I haven't been one of those guys to jump from job to job, so it's new to me, and maybe that's why emotions are what they are, but I want to make sure I close things up the right way at ASU the next copule days, and then get started at Penn next week."
A Pennsylvania native who grew up in Hershey and graduated from Penn State, Pera, who will turn 45 on Monday, coached Annville Cleona to a state title and 30-3 record in 1999. Pera's wife Alyssa is a Penn alumnus.
Pera's 11-year head coaching career record is 258-65.
Penn's opening was very appealing to Pera in part because of the schools rich tradition of turning out Division I head coaches, including most recently, John Gallagher, who took over at Hartford in 2010, and Mike Martin, who became Brown's head coach earlier this year.
"It's important because like I said to Jerome and some of the administrators at the school, a number of pieces are in place at Penn that make it attractive, with the head coaching placement being big and something we're very aware of," Pera said. "To be one step closer to that and my wife's alma mater, and be under another terrific coach in a city we love, all those pieces made it come together."