Pine Crest boys’ basketball coach David Beckerman, who helped develop Brandon Knight into a prep superstar and led the team to three state titles, will not be returning to the school.
Beckerman ended speculation over his future Sunday by confirming Pine Crest chose not to renew his contract for what would have been his 12th season at the Fort Lauderdale private school.
Beckerman, who finished 18-9 this past season, said he was caught off guard by the decision, especially given he stood only seven victories short of 500 at Pine Crest.
“The kids have been great,” Beckerman said. “I’ve had a wonderful relationship with the three athletic directors I have worked with, as well as the old administration. It wasn’t in the cards, so we move one. That is part of life.”
Although Beckerman, who has a 493-120 career record, said he isn’t actively pursuing any coaching positions at this time, he did leave open the possibility he would listen if a situation that supported high academic standards presented itself.
When Beckerman came onto the South Florida coaching scene, he was best known as the self-made millionaire and inventor of the Starter Sports Jackets, who had led Hamden Hall (Connecticut) to eight New England State championships, including six in a row.
Beckerman, however, found the once-in-a generational talent to turn Pine Crest into a private school powerhouse when Knight enrolled as a highly touted eighth-grader.
A rivalry soon blossomed with Plantation American Heritage and its Big 3 of Kenny Boynton Jr., 6-10 Eloy Vargas and Ray Taylor, which Beckerman and Knight helped the Panthers dominate.
Pine Crest won back-to-back state titles with Knight in 2008 and 2009. Knight went on to win the 2009 and 2010 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year awards before a one-and-done stint at Kentucky and then becoming the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
“The 11 years were great, but I don’t think my coaching days are over,” Beckerman.