PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers University head men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan announced today that Mike O’Koren and Greg Vetrone will serve as assistant coaches. A collegiate All-American at North Carolina under Dean Smith, O’Koren arrives “On the Banks” with 10 years of NBA assistant coaching experience, while Vetrone possesses more than 25 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and high school levels, including four seasons (2009-13) as head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“We are very excited to welcome the O’Koren and Vetrone families into the Rutgers Basketball family,” said Jordan. “Mike and Greg are respected, veteran coaches with extensive experience and a strong knowledge of the northeast landscape. They are also tremendous relationship-builders with the ability to connect with and develop players, which is essential in our program’s effort to achieve success in the Big Ten Conference.”
O’Koren, who has served as a color analyst for high school basketball games on Verizon FiOS1 for the past two seasons, worked alongside Jordan during his NBA tenure. He served under Jordan as associate head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers (2009-10) and Washington Wizards (2004-09), after working alongside him as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets (1999-03). The Wizards made the playoffs in four of O'Koren’s five full seasons after doing so just once in the prior 16 years. Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison all made their first All-Star appearance during his tenure. The Nets won back-to-back Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003, as Jason Kidd and Stephon Marbury earned All-Star nods. O’Koren was an NBA All-Star Game assistant coach in 2002 and 2007.
A native of Jersey City and a graduate of Hudson Catholic High School, O’Koren was a four-year starter and three-time All-American with the Tar Heels. Named to the ACC’s 2013 Legends class, he is the only North Carolina player to have recorded at least 1,500 points (1,765), 800 rebounds (815) and 300 assists (348). He helped UNC to a 94-29 record and four NCAA tournaments during his tenure, including an appearance in the national finals in 1977, when he averaged 13.9 points as a freshman and scored 31 in a national semifinals victory over UNLV. A member of the United States gold medal team at the 1979 Pan American Games, O’Koren was selected sixth overall by New Jersey in the 1980 draft. He played seven seasons in the NBA with the Nets (1980-86, 87-88) and Washington Bullets (1986-87), scoring 3,355 points, grabbing 1,391 rebounds and dishing out 856 assists.
Vetrone, who served as a player development consultant with the Canarias Basketball Academy this past season, has an extensive basketball background at multiple levels. Prior to serving as head coach at FDU, he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UNLV (1995-99), California-Irvine (1991-95), FDU (1989-91) and LIU-CW Post (1985-89). In addition to coaching at Portchester High School (2007-08) and serving as an east regional scout for the Los Angeles Clippers (2004-05), Vetrone worked at the grassroots level for many years. He was the basketball manager at Aviator Sports and Recreation and served as a consultant for the Grass Roots Program/Reebok from 2002 to 2007. In that position, he was the Director of ABCD East and West Camp Next, co-director of ABCD All-American Basketball Camp and co-director of Roundball Classic High School All-American game in Chicago. From 2004-06, he was the manager for Coaches versus Cancer, coordinating all fundraising efforts with NCAA and NBA coaches. For five years prior to that (1999-04), Vetrone was a consultant for The Hoop Group/Eastern Invitational Camps, serving as the head coach of the One-World-All-Stars exhibition team and director of the International Basketball League Draft.
A native of Queens, N.Y., and a graduate of Hackensack (N.J.) High School, Vetrone was two-year starter at point guard at LIU-CW Post and helped the team to an NCAA East Regional championship under head coach Tom Galeazzi.
O’Koren, 56, and wife Angela are the proud parents of a 20-year-old daughter named Chelsea. Vetrone, 52, and wife Erin share three children, Vanessa (21), Vincent (18) and Josephine (3).