Keith Urgo begins his seventh season as a member of the Penn State coaching
staff and fourth as associate head coach. Promoted to his current post in
June of 2013, Urgo has more than a decade of collegiate coaching experience
and has worked side-by-side with Patrick Chambers for nine years, including
two as a member of the Villanova coaching staff.
Instrumental to the Nittany Lions’ successes both on the court and on the
recruiting trail, Urgo offers the reputation of Penn State’s nationally
ranked academic programs, an engaged alumni network that is second to none,
and the opportunity to establish the Nittany Lion basketball program on the
national scene. While the Washington, D.C., native may not tout his own
strengths as a coach and person, his abilities in building relationships
and developing young men into the leaders of tomorrow do not go unnoticed.
Tim Frazier, now with the Washington Wizards, and D.J. Newbill, with the
National Basketball League’s New Zealand Breakers, benefitted from Urgo’s
instruction and guidance as they broke numerous Penn State records before
moving on to professional careers. Frazier and Newbill are just a few of
the student-athletes mentored by Urgo as the list is lengthy, and includes
Scottie Reynolds, the Most Outstanding Player at the 2009 NCAA East
Regional, Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns and Reggie Redding from Villanova, to
name just a few.
Urgo is at the forefront of Penn State’s recruiting efforts which have
produced, so far, two classes that earned national rankings. The class of
2015 was the first-ever top-30 signing class in program history. A year
later, Penn State’s first top-25 recruiting class took the mantle as the
Mentored by the head coaches of his two teams at Gonzaga, his decision to
embark on a career in coaching was influenced primarily by the assistant
basketball coach at his high school.
A 2002 graduate of Fairfield University, Urgo was a two-sport athlete who
played varsity basketball and lacrosse for the Stags. Following graduation,
he helped develop a non-profit organization with his best friend and
teammate from Gonzaga High School and his two brothers, “Playing for Peace,
Inc.”, designed to aide in conflict resolution. The organization is based
in four locales: Durbin, South Africa, Northern Ireland, the West Bank in
the Middle East, and Cypress, Greece.
Urgo’s role with the organization took him first to South Africa and then
to Northern Ireland, where for the next 18 months he would teach basketball
to local youth and help them develop leadership skills. The organization,
now operating as “PeacePlayers International,” has been recognized with
numerous prestigious awards including the 2007 Arthur Ashe ESPY Award for
Returning stateside in 2004, Urgo accepted a position as an assistant coach
at Gonzaga and directed the junior varsity squad to a 32-7 record while
assisting with the national powerhouse varsity team. A student of the game,
Urgo planned trips to university campuses during the Eagles’ offseason to
observe programs and learn more from coaches in the collegiate ranks.
A hallway conversation, based on relationships Urgo had developed
throughout his life, opened the door for an opportunity to join the
Villanova basketball staff in 2007 as video coordinator. He moved up to the
position of director of basketball operations and spent two seasons in that
role, including 2008-09, when Villanova reached the NCAA Final Four. He was
named an assistant coach for the Wildcats’ 2010-2011 season.
In his five years at Villanova, the Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament every
season while Urgo was on the staff, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008
in addition to the trip to the 2009 Final Four.
Urgo, and his wife Kristy have three children: Ty, Cody and Samantha.