College basketball will be without one of its longest-tenured coaches next season.
Saint Joseph’s announced on Tuesday that Phil Martelli would not return next season, ending a 24-season run as head coach on Hawk Hill. The program went 444-328 (218-175 in the A-10) over that span, and went to seven NCAA Tournaments. Martelli was a four-time A-10 Coach of the Year recipient, and was named AP and Naismith Coach of the Year in 2004.
Here’s the school’s release:
Today, Saint Joseph’s University announced its decision to make a leadership change in its men’s basketball program. The University will immediately begin a search for a new head coach, with the goal of filling the position in the coming weeks.
Coach Phil Martelli stands out among his peers in college basketball not only for his long tenure and the many accolades that he and his teams have achieved, but also for his engagement with the community and his service as an ambassador for SJU. The University recognizes and celebrates the history and heart that Coach Martelli brought to the program and thanks him for his long service, dedication and stewardship.
As basketball is an important strategic asset for Saint Joseph’s, the University will move forward with the intent to build upon its storied history, develop a sustained culture of excellence, and consistently compete for NCAA tournament appearances and conference championships.
SJU’s best season under Martelli came in 2003-04, when a team led by Jameer Nelson and Delonte West went 30-2, earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and beat Liberty, Texas Tech and Wake Forest to reach the Elite Eight. The Hawks also went to the Sweet 16 in 1996-97, Martelli’s second season in charge, and had reached the NCAA Tournament as recently as 2015-16 behind DeAndre’ Bembry.
The program was bitten heavily by major injuries over the past three seasons, causing standout players Shavar Newkirk, Lamarr Kimble and Pierfrancesco Oliva to miss significant time at various points. In part, this contributed to a 20-34 record in league play over that time.
Martelli’s tenure at the school dated back to 1985, when he joined the program as an assistant.