Tommy Amaker Speaker Profile
Tommy Amaker Biography
Tommy Amaker was born June 6, 1965 in Falls Church, Virginia and is the current head coach of the Harvard University men's basketball team. He has also served as head basketball coach for the University of Michigan men's basketball team and at Seton Hall University. He played point guard and later served as an assistant coach at Duke University under Mike Krzyzewski.
In 1988, after graduating, Amaker took a position on Krzyzewski's staff as a graduate assistant at Duke. He would then serve as an assistant coach from 1989-97 during which time Duke won 2 NCAA Championships.
In 1997, Amaker took the head coaching position at Seton Hall. As a head coach, Amaker took Seton Hall to the NCAA tournament once (2000) - when his team reached the Sweet Sixteen (third round) - and to the National Invitation Tournament three times (1998, 1999 and 2001).
While at Seton Hall, Amaker recruited the #2 recruiting class in the nation in 2000, according to ESPN. The class consisted of Eddie Griffin, (ranked by some as the top high school player in the nation, Andre Barrett, and Marcus Toney-El. The Pirates were ranked high on many experts pre-season rankings. The following season, Amaker resigned as the Seton Hall head coach and took the vacant Michigan head coaching job. Amaker is reported to have told the team in the locker room after already having told the press.
At Michigan, his 2004 team won the NIT title, and his 2006 team was the NIT runner-up. Amaker had been credited for helping to restore the ethical reputation of a Michigan program which had been tarnished by scandal. However, he had been unable to take the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament, which had caused him to draw criticism. Some fans and sportswriters argued that Amaker's teams tended to underachieve and fall apart in pressure situations, particularly at the end of the season. On March 17, 2007, Amaker was fired by the University of Michigan. Amaker will receive $900,000 to buy out the remaining years on his contract.
On April 11, 2007, Amaker was named head men's basketball coach at Harvard University. Amaker's Harvard team beat his former team, Michigan, in just his eighth game as coach at Harvard. Allegations of possible improper recruiting practices at Harvard arose after a New York Times article in March 2008, but after an investigation the Ivy League concluded that no violations of NCAA or Ivy League rules occurred, clearing Amaker and his staff. On January 7, 2009, Amaker's Harvard squad beat then #17 Boston College for the program's first win over a ranked team in the school's history. Amaker is known for his trademark mock turtle-neck shirts, each of which has his initials monogrammed into the collar.
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