After leading one of the region's top programs over the last decade, Danny Sancomb was introduced as head men's basketball coach at California University of Pennsylvania during a news conference held at the Convocation Center on Thursday afternoon.
Sancomb spent the past 11 seasons as head coach at Wheeling Jesuit and posted a 216-115
record with the Cardinals. Last year, he led the program to its first-ever Mountain
East Conference (MEC) Championship and a third-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Sancomb guided the Cardinals to 100 victories over the last four seasons behind four-consecutive
20-win seasons, one of only four teams in the Atlantic Region to accomplish the feat.
"The search committee and I were impressed with Coach Sancomb's coaching philosophy and total commitment to student-athletes," said University President Geraldine Jones. "Coach Sancomb expects his players to compete at the highest level, not only on the court, but also in the classroom."
Last season, Wheeling Jesuit captured its first league title since 2005 when it was a member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC). The Cardinals earned the second seed in the conference tournament and won each of their three tournament games by at least 14 points, highlighted by an 80-65 victory over Charleston (W.Va.) in the championship game. Senior Haywood Highsmith, a 6-foot-7 Baltimore native, was selected the Ron Lenz National Player of the Year after leading the country with 29 double-doubles behind 22.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting over 55 percent from the floor.
"I'm thrilled at the opportunity to be the head coach at Cal U," said Sancomb. "I was so impressed with the people from the search committee, to Provost Bruce Barnhart to President Geraldine Jones and I'm really excited to work with those in the athletic department."
Sancomb guided the Cardinals to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship during the 2016-17 campaign. Wheeling Jesuit capped the regular season with a 101-98 triple-overtime victory against nationally-ranked West Liberty to earn the third seed for the MEC Tournament. After losing to the Hilltoppers in the semifinals of the league tournament, the Cardinals responded with a 96-95 overtime win against West Liberty in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Wheeling Jesuit, which was the sixth seed in the regional, then posted a 97-91 win over second-seeded Shippensburg before losing to eventual-national runner-up Fairmont State in the regional final.
In the 2015-16 season, Sancomb led Wheeling Jesuit to a school-record 28 wins and the Cardinals were ranked No. 1 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll for the first time in program history. Wheeling Jesuit boasted a 21-game winning streak when it achieved the No. 1 ranking on February 23, 2016 before finishing the year tied for first in the MEC standings. The Cardinals advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament before being selected the top seed and host of the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship. For his efforts, Sancomb was named both the NABC Atlantic Region and MEC Coach of the Year.
"Danny has a tremendous history of coaching success and we are fortunate to be able to have him lead our men's basketball program," said Cal U Athletic Director Dr. Karen Hjerpe. "He brings incredible knowledge in fundamentals, strategy and recruiting and we are looking forward to the start of the 2018-19 season."
Sancomb has coached 12 All-MEC honorees, including seven first-team selections, since the inception of the league for the 2013-14 season. Highsmith was a three-time All-MEC selection and finished his career with over 1,950 points and 1,250 rebounds. Guard Eric Siefert earned All-MEC First-Team honors in three-consecutive years and scored nearly 1,650 points while collecting almost 500 assists in his career. Forward Pat Moseh was a two-time All-MEC First-Team selection after being tabbed the 2015 MEC Freshman of the Year and tallied over 1,700 points during his career.
Prior to his time as a head coach at Wheeling Jesuit, Sancomb served as athletic director and head boy's basketball coach at St. Mary's Ryken High School in Southern Maryland. He led the basketball program to its first winning season in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) at 16-10 after the program won just two games the previous year. Sancomb mentored 10 all-conference players and a McDonald's All-America nominee during his three seasons as the scholastic level.
Sancomb was as an assistant coach at Wheeling Jesuit before accepting the position at St. Mary's Ryken. He served on the coaching staff of Jay DeFruscio, who was named WVIAC Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the program to its first 20-win season in six years.
A native of Maryland, Sancomb was a prolific scorer while playing two seasons for DeFruscio at Wheeling Jesuit. He led the WVIAC in scoring as both a junior and senior and was an All-WVIAC First-Team selection in both seasons. Sancomb ranks among the top 10 all-time in school history with 1,454 career points after leading NCAA Division II in scoring as a senior with 26.9 points per game. The Cardinals were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country while Sancomb was a player.
Sancomb, a 2008 Wheeling Jesuit Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, earned his bachelor's degree from Wheeling Jesuit in criminal justice in 1998. He later completed a master's degree in business administration from the institution in 2003.
He and his wife, Rebecca, have three sons, Eli, Luke and Jack.