NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Jim Engles, an assistant basketball coach at Columbia, Rider and Wagner the last 18 years, will take over the winless New Jersey Institute of Technology program this week.
Engles, who has spent the past five seasons at Columbia, was offered the job last week, people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. They asked not to be identified because the appointment has not been officially announced.
They said the longtime assistant and officials at New Jersey Tech are in the process of finalizing a contract.
Engles refused to comment on the job in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, but he identified himself as ``Jim Engles of New Jersey Tech'' on the call.
Engles is taking over the biggest rebuilding job in Division I college basketball.
NJIT set an NCAA record for futility this past season, losing all 29 games. The previous low was 0-28, set by Prairie View of Texas in 1992 and matched by Savannah State in 2005.
NJIT is on a 33-game losing streak, dating to Feb. 19, 2007. The school has a 5-53 mark since moving to Division I two seasons ago.
The Highlanders were the only Division I team this season with more turnovers (577) than field goals (550).
The futility led coach Jim Casciano to resign. He took a leave of absence for 12 games during the season for what he revealed was a cancer scare, problems with diabetes and a bout with depression.
While at Columbia, Engles helped turn around a team that had the lowest RPI in college basketball when he was hired by Joe Jones. The Lions had a 14-15 record this past season, including 7-7 in the Ivy League.
Before going to Columbia, Engles spent six seasons at Rider, where he was the top assistant coach for Don Harnum and the school's recruiting coordinator.
Engles also spent seven seasons as an assistant at Wagner, helping Tim Capstraw turn around a program that was 4-26 in 1991-92 and won 16 games the following season.
Engles played three seasons of basketball at Dickinson College. A New York native, he and his family live in Convent Station.
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