PITTSBURGH (AP) — Keith Dambrot spent more than a decade turning Akron into one of the most consistent winners in the Mid-American Conference.

Now he faces an even greater challenge: making Duquesne relevant in the Atlantic 10. The Dukes hired Dambrot on Tuesday to replace Jim Ferry and give a program that’s spent the better part of 30 years struggling to remain competitive a needed boost.

Dambrot spent 13 seasons with the Zips, compiling a 305-139 record. Akron won at least 20 games in 12 straight seasons and earned three NCAA Tournament bids under Dambrot, considered the best coach in the Mid-American Conference.

Akron set a school record for wins this season, but the top-seeded Zips were beaten in the MAC championship by rival Kent State and played in the NIT.

The hire is a homecoming of sorts for Dambrot. His father, Sid, starred for the Dukes in the 1950s.

“Today marks a new day for Duquesne basketball,” Dambrot said in a statement. “We are here to build a program that our campus and community will embrace. We need to unite together. Everyone from our administration, faculty and staff, alums, students, and the Pittsburgh community will play a role in our success. I look forward to all the great things ahead for Duquesne.”

The Dukes last reached the NCAA Tournament in 1981 and failed…