Pera named men’s basketball coach

By Tim Andrzejewski

Scott Pera is the Owls’ new head coach for men’s basketball, Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard announced March 23.

Pera spent the past three years as the Owls’ associate head coach and served a large role in recruiting and game preparation. He helped the Owls to victories over New Mexico, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech.

This past year, Pera helped Rice achieve a 23-12 record, the second-most wins in school history and just the eighth 20-win season, and advance to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational. He helped oversee a squad that set school records for points scored, field goals, three-point field goals, rebounds and completed free throws.

Prior to joining the Owls, Pera spent two seasons at Penn, where the team led 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 2014.

Pera also played an extensive role at Penn in recruiting, player development and game preparation. 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,” Pera said. “I want to thank Joe (Karlgaard) and the administration. My route is a little bit different than a lot of people’s. 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 season 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 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 2010).

While at Arizona State, Pera recruited many successful players to Tempe, including NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist James Harden, whom Pera had previously coached at Artesia High School. He also recruited Derek Glasser, ASU’s record holder for career games played, assists and free-throw percentage, from Artesia.

Pera served as the head coach at Artesia from 2000 to 2006, during which the school won 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 2006 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 and physical education in addition to serving as the athletic director from 2002 to 2005.

Prior to his time in Southern California, Pera coached Annville-Cleona High School from 1995 to 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

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 to 1995 and in Annville from 1995 to 2000. He also served as an assistant coach at Elizabethtown College from 1992 to 1993.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with (Scott Pera),” Karlgaard said. “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 Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 from Penn State’s Harrisburg campus. He and his wife, Alyssa, have two daughters, Sydney and Brynn.


About Special to Rice News

The Rice News is produced weekly by the Office of Public Affairs at Rice University.