By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
— Rice Athletics (@RiceAthletics) March 23, 2017
HOUSTON, Texas — Scott Pera has been named the 25th head coach in Rice men’s basketball history, Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced Thursday afternoon.
Pera has spent the last three years as the Owls Associate Head Coach. He has served a large role in recruiting and game preparation. He helped the Owls to victories over New Mexico, UAB, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech.
This past year, he helped Rice to a 23-12 record, the second-most wins in school history and just the eighth 20 win season, while advancing to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational. He helped oversee a squad that set school records for points, field goals, three-point field goals, free throws and rebounds.
Prior to joining the Owls, Pera spent two seasons at Penn, where he saw the squad lead the Ivy League in assists in 2013-14 after ranking second in the league in assists and tops in field goal percentage defense the season before. He was named the top assistant in the Ivy League and No. 19 nationally among low-to-mid-major programs by Basketball Times in 2013 and ‘14.
For the Quakers, Pera also played an extensive role in recruiting, player development and game preparations. Penn notched wins against league front-runners Harvard and Princeton during his tenure under head coach Jerome Allen.
“This is a special day for me,” said Pera. “I want to thank Joe (Karlgaard) and the administration. My route is a little bit different than a lot of people’s (route). Obviously, I spent 11 years as a head high school coach. I’ve worked at some great institutions and for this to culminate here at Rice University is literally a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier. My family loves the Houston area and loves this university. We’re just all very thrilled.”
Pera previously spent six years on staff at Arizona State under head coach Herb Sendek. He began as Director of Operations in the 2006-07 campaign but was quickly promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position in 2007 and added the title of recruiting coordinator just one year later in 2008.
The Sun Devils averaged 18.0 wins per season with Pera on staff as an assistant coach, including three 20-win campaigns and an at-large bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances (2008 and '10).
While at Arizona State, Pera recruited many successful players to Tempe, including NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist James Harden, who Pera had previously coached at Artesia High School. He also recruited ASU career games played, assists and free throw percentage record holder Derek Glasser from Artesia.
Pera served as the head coach at Artesia from 2000-06, including the 2006 state title with a 33-1 record. He was named the Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press Telegram Southern California Coach of the Year in 2003 and `06, and the CIF Division III AA and SCIBCA Division III AA Coach of the Year the same seasons. He led his prep teams to seven league championships, two CIF Southern Section Division III championships, three 30-win seasons, a 102-9 record in home games and a 38-12 mark in the playoffs. While at Artesia, Pera also taught history (2000-02) and physical education (2005-06) in addition to serving as the athletic director from 2002-05.
Prior to his time in Southern California, Pera coached Annville-Cleona High School from 1995-2000, where he led the squad to the Pennsylvania state title with a 30-3 mark in 1999. In 11 seasons as a high school head coach, he posted a 258-65 overall record. His 2006 Artesia team was ranked second in the nation by Sports Illustrated, sixth by USA Today, and earned the top ranking from MaxPreps.com.
He was the Lancaster/Lebanon League "PA Coach of the Year" that season and earned the same honor from the Lebanon Daily News. He taught sixth grade in Palmyra from 1993-95 and in Annville from 1995-2000. He also served as an assistant coach at Elizabethtown College from 1992-93.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with (Scott Pera), said Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard. “I’ve gotten to know him really well. He’s a top-flight individual. He embodies the core values of this institution and he’s a heck of a basketball coach. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I think he’s going to do exactly what we want which is to push this program to even greater heights.”
Pera graduated with a degree from Penn State's Harrisburg campus in 1989. He and his wife, Alyssa, have two daughters, Sydney and Brynn.