John Beilein was the veteran coach who filled his bench with younger, up-and-coming assistants. For new coach Juwan Howard, it was the opposite for his first hire.
It had long been rumored that Howard, a young coach with no college or head coaching experience, was looking for a veteran head coach to join his staff, and Howard has now found that person in former St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, according to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
At 64, Martelli is old for an NCAA assistant. He spent the last 24 years coaching the Hawks in the Atlantic 10 conference, where he led them to seven NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1996 and an Elite Eight run in 2004. That year, St. Joseph’s went undefeated in the regular season and Martelli won the Naismith and Associated Press Coach of the Year awards.
However, the Hawks made the tournament just twice in the past 11 years, with five losing seasons in that span. In March, in the wake of several disappointing seasons, Martelli was let go, and as a former mid-major coach whose best days were behind him, he did not receive much interest for open head jobs.
But Martelli fit perfectly the assistant role Howard was looking to fill. Martelli was beloved in Philadelphia, and six of his former players went on to play in the NBA — including three first-round draft picks. He has also been an assistant before, holding that position at St. Joseph’s from 1985-1995.
Michigan also has decided to complete its assistant coaching staff with the hiring of Howard Eisley, according to The Athletic. Eisley comes from a very different background than Martelli but his pedigree is similar to that of Howard instead.
A former teammate of Jalen Rose, Eisley is a Detroit native, graduating from Southwestern High School before playing at Boston College. Playing 12 seasons in the NBA and retiring in 2006, he entered the coaching realm in 2010 as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers. He also spent time as an assistant for the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks.
With the hiring of Martelli and Eisley, Howard has no more spots left to fill in his coaching staff. Saddi Washington, an assistant under Beilein, is staying on staff, but Luke Yaklich left to become the associate head coach at Texas and DeAndre Haynes was not retained by Howard.
This story is developing and will be updated as we get more information.