The Neubauer Era – Great, Oftentimes Phenomenal Defense Didn’t Lead To Wins

Jeff Neubauer knows what he’s good at. It was not a fluke that he recorded 188 wins while at Eastern Kentucky, second most in program history. And it was not a fluke when he won 101 games in his last five seasons at the school, a number that still stands for a program record during any five-year stretch. However we find ourselves forgetting this, or in some cases we believe that these sorts of records ended when he got to Fordham. 

In some ways they did. It is not a secret that this Rams team has struggled in recent years to get in the win column – particularly in the A10 – having just 6 total conference wins since the 2018-19 season. But pending how you look at it, not everything that Neubauer did was wrong. As a matter of fact, he actually did a lot quite right.

His first season with Fordham finished with a 17-14 record during the 2015-16 season. This record was good enough to get them a postseason appearance in the CIT tournament, their first postseason tournament appearance since 1992.

Not to forget that the 17 wins by Neubauer were the most for a Fordham team since their 2006-07 season, all while maintaining a 14-5 home record. Those 14 home wins are also a program high, in case you were wondering.

If we include the following year, he totaled 15 conference victories in his opening two seasons. That was one more than the previous seven years combined. Fordham was winning, and the results had the impacts of Neubauer all over them.

In that first season, Neubauer had his program ranked 2nd in the A10 and 10th in the nation in steals, while at the same time being 14th in the country in forced turnovers.

And while the wins got harder to come by, the defensive toughness never wavered. Just this past season, for example, they finished 10th nationally in scoring defense. They allowed just 61.7 ppg, the lowest in program history since the shot clock era. 

Unfortunately for Neubauer, and for the fans of the Rams, the wins were just not showing up. The team had flashes, lots of them. Think February 10th, 2018, when Fordham went into the steel city and defeated a Duquesne team (who had 15 wins at the time) by 23 points. That Fordham team had the likes of Prokop Slanina and Will Tavares, and was a game that Chartouny did not even play in. But they could not consistently put these performances together.

Even this season, Neubauer showed how his defensive calling could lead to victory, as they beat Dayton and held them to 54 points. The issue was and is consistency, and Fordham seemed to not be able to put strands of wins together.

And in the NCAA, that is what matters, and is what has led to the split between Neubauer and the Fordham Rams. They had great moments together, and we can not forget that. Neubauer built the team in the way he knew how, a tough team that would battle for every second of every game. It is a strategy and mindset that will lead him to success in the future, wherever he may find himself. And for this Fordham team, it will surely help them as they prepare for a new chapter.

Mike Macesich is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Mike has covered the Colorado Rockies over at, and spent time with Pens Labyr...