Joe Mihalich, who has guided the Niagara University Men’s Basketball team to five postseason appearances since 2003-04, has been named the 12th head coach in the history of the Hofstra University Men’s Basketball program. The announcement was made today by Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz and Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway.
Mihalich has agreed to a six-year contract with Hofstra.
“I can’t begin to express the excitement and enthusiasm I have for this wonderful opportunity,” said Mihalich. “I am incredibly grateful and thankful to President Stuart Rabinowitz and Jeff Hathaway for the chance to lead the Hofstra Men’s Basketball program. I look forward to bringing an exciting and winning brand of basketball to Hofstra. My family and I are so excited to start this new journey. Go Pride!”
“Joe Mihalich has been a winner at every stop in his highly successful career,” commented Hathaway. “He has worked his way up the ladder through hard work and dedication, and his work ethic has prepared him to lead our program. Hofstra University is fortunate to land such a dynamic educator, coach and leader and we look forward to the start of his work with our current and future student-athletes. We are excited to welcome him to campus.”
“I am delighted to welcome Joe and his family to Hofstra,” stated President Rabinowitz. “Joe brings strong leadership and a successful background, and we look forward to his leading the men’s basketball program to new heights. His deep commitment to develop and mentor student-athletes, both in the classroom and on the court, will be an asset to the Hofstra community.”
Mihalich led the Purple Eagles since 1998 and during that time he won 265 games, earning a pair of NCAA Tournament berths and making three National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances.
This past season was one of the most successful and rewarding in Mihalich’s career as he guided a young roster to great success. Niagara won 19 games in 2012-13, while capturing the regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and advancing to the NIT for the third time in his tenure.
Mihalich, was recognized nationally for his strong work with the Purple Eagles, picking up numerous awards for his efforts. Mihalich garnered the 2013 MAAC Coach of the Year Award, and was named the 2013 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 1 Coach of the Year. With these two awards, Mihalich has now been honored as a coach of the year seven times in his distinguished career.
The accolades for the 2012-13 campaign don’t end there, though, as Mihalich was the 2013 Skip Prosser Man of the Year and a finalist for the 2013 Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award. The Skip Prosser Award was established in 2008 to honor those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off of it as well, while the Hugh Durham Award is given annually to the nation’s top mid-major coach.
A model of consistency, Mihalich has won at least 17 games 11 times in his 15 seasons at Niagara and led the Purple Eagles to a win in the 2006-07 NCAA Tournament over Florida A&M and the 2003-04 NIT over Troy State.
The Purple Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Mihalich in 2005, earning a 14-seed in Niagara’s first tournament appearance in 35 years. The team went 20-10 on its way to its first-ever MAAC Championship and Mihalich was rewarded with conference Coach of the Year accolades.
Niagara also earned an NIT bid in 2008-09, finishing the season with a 26-9 record. The win total was the second-most in program history and Mihalich guided the squad to the MAAC title game for the fifth time since 2002. The Purple Eagles were rewarded for their success with their first-ever home NIT game.
Mihalich’s up-tempo style has seen his teams average more than 70 points per game in nine of the last 10 years, including more than 81 points per game in 2003-04 and 2004-05. The 2004-05 team averaged 84.6 points per contest, ranking fourth in the nation in scoring that season. In 1998-99, Mihalich’s first year, senior guard Alvin Young led the nation in scoring at 25.1 points per game.
Under Mihalich’s tutelage Juan Mendez earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2005, becoming just the second player in school history to be named an AP All-American (joining three-time pick Calvin Murphy, 1968-70). He has also coached three MAAC Player of the Year Award recipients, three MAAC Sixth-Man of the Year Award winners, two MAAC Defensive Players of the Year, one MAAC Rookie of the Year, 24 All-MAAC selections and eight MAAC All-Rookie picks.
Mendez also earned NABC All-District honors in 2005 and was joined this past season by both Juan’ya Green and Antoine Mason. Green was also selected to the Lou Henson Mid Major All-American team in 2013 after earning Mid-Major Freshman of the Year honors in 2012.
In addition to his players’ on-court successes, Mihalich also saw his players excel in the classroom with 17 student-athletes garnering MAAC All-Academic honors including three-time selection Paul Kowalksi and two-time honoree Demetrius Williamson.
Aside from his coaching awards this past season, Mihalich has also been named MAAC Coach of the Year in his first season at Niagara (1998-99) following a 17-12 season that included a regular season conference championship, and again in 2004-05 when the Purple Eagles made the NCAA Tournament. He also earned NABC District Coach of the Year honors in 2008-09 following Niagara’s 26-win campaign. Mihalich has also earned the 2005 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District II Coach of the Year and the 2007 Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) Coach of the Year Awards.
From 1981 to 1998, Mihalich was an assistant coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. During his time on the Explorer bench, he served as an assistant coach to Dave “Lefty” Ervin and the legendary William “Speedy” Morris. Mihalich was part of eight postseason teams at La Salle, including five NCAA Tournament appearances.
La Salle won 285 games while Mihalich was on staff, averaging nearly 17 wins per season. The Explorers had arguably one of the best seasons in school history in 1989-90 when the squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament and compiled a 30-2 record, while being led by consensus national player of the year Lionel Simmons. Mihalich coached several players at La Salle who would go on to play professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA); including Simmons, Doug Overton, Randy Woods and Tim Legler.
Mihalich got his coaching career started at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD, under the legendary Morgan Wootten. He served under the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Wootten from 1978 to 1981 and during that time the varsity team compiled a record of 82-8 and the junior varsity squad went 34-5. Mihalich served as the assistant varsity coach for three seasons and the head junior varsity coach for a pair of seasons.
Mihalich played collegiately at La Salle from 1974 to 1978. He served as a team captain in 1978, and during his four seasons on the roster the Explorers won a total 68 games, including 18 during his senior season. La Salle made a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and won a Big Five title with Mihalich on the roster. He holds a degree in mathematics and education from La Salle and also earned his master’s in athletic administration from Temple in 1990.
Mihalich and his wife, Mary, have three sons (Joe – 25 and twins; Matt and Tony – 24).
THE JOE MIHALICH FILE
Birthdate: August 29, 1956
Born: Washington, DC
Raised: Philadelphia, PA
Education: B.S. in mathematics and education from La Salle, 1978
M.Ed. in athletic administration from Temple, 1990
Family: Wife, Mary; sons Joe (25), Matt (24) and Tony (24)
Years Title School
1978-81 Assistant Coach DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland)
1981-98 Assistant Coach La Salle University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
1998-2013 Head Coach Niagara University (Niagara University, New York)
2013-present Head Coach Hofstra University (Hempstead, New York)
MIHALICH HEAD COACHING CAREER YEAR-BY-YEAR (AT NIAGARA)
YEAR RECORD POSTSEASON
2003-04 22-10 NIT
2004-05 20-10 NCAA
2006-07 23-12 NCAA
2008-09 26-9 NIT
2012-13 19-14 NIT
TOTAL 265-203/15 years
OVERALL COLLEGE RECORD 265-203 (.567) – 15 years