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Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell announces staff changes ahead of season

Rutgers v Houston Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have finalized a staff reload after having multiple holes left by departures in the annual offseason shuffle. Some of the staff changes happened earlier this summer, but the announcement came last week on Thursday for the finalized staff roster just days before the first official preseason practice could be held yesterday.

TJ Thompson has been elevated into an assistant coaching role, joining Brandin Knight and Karl Hobbs. He spent the past two seasons as the program’s Director of Basketball Administration.

Thompson played guard for Pikiell and Hobbs at George Washington University from 2001-2005 where he averaged 12.3 ppg over his career in 32.8 mpg, and he also averaged 4.1 apg and 1.4 spg. Thompson was also Geo Baker’s AAU coach in New Hampshire. He has been representing RU on the recruiting trail all summer as the staff change was made earlier this year but only just announced.

Thompson replaces Steve Hayn who transitioned to the new role of Pikiell’s Chief of Staff. Hayn was an assistant coach for the past two seasons for the Scarlet Knights.

Meanwhile, former Director of Basketball Operations Ben Asher, who left for an assistant coaching job at Youngstown State, has been replaced by Mike Larkin. Larkin previously served as the Special Assistant to the Head Coach for the past two seasons.

Finally, Tom Barrett has been named as the program’s new Director of External Operations. He spent the past four seasons as the Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Operations for Sacred Heart. Greg Vetrone’s former position of Director of Player Development, who left Rutgers to become an assistant coach at St. John’s, has not been replaced.

Steve Pikiell enters his sixth season as head coach for the Scarlet Knights. RU opens the season on Wednesday, Nov. 10 against the Lehigh University Hawks.