Joe Mihalich

Joseph Anthony Mihalich[1] (born August 29, 1956) is an American former college basketball coach and current Special Advisor to the Director of Athletics at Hofstra University.[2]

Joe Mihalich
Joe Mihalich.jpg
Current position
TitleSpecial Advisor to AD
Biographical details
Born (1956-08-29) August 29, 1956 (age 64)
Washington, D.C.
Playing career
1974–1978La Salle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1978–1981DeMatha Catholic HS (assistant)
1981–1998La Salle (assistant)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2021–presentHofstra (Sp. Adv. to the AD)
Head coaching record
Overall406–295 (.579)
Accomplishments and honors

Mihalich was named head coach on April 10, 2013. Prior to that, he led Niagara to two NCAA tournaments, in 2005 and 2007, and three National Invitation Tournament, in 2004, 2009 and 2013.[3]

He received the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award in 2013.


Assistant coachEdit

La SalleEdit

Mihalich spent 17 years, from 1981–1998, at his alma mater as an Assistant Coach under Head Coaches Dave “Lefty” Ervin and the legendary William “Speedy” Morris.[4] Mihalich was a part of 8 postseason appearances including 5 NCAA Tournament teams. 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.[4]

The son of a La Salle professor, his basketball career began as a guard on the La Salle Explorers team as a walk-on, playing from 1974 to 1978. Mihalich literally was raised up the street from the La Salle campus, on Chew Avenue in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.[5] He was in the right place at the right time, playing on teams coached by Paul Westhead. The Explorers made the NCAA tournament in Mihalich's freshman year. Their star was Joe Bryant, Kobe's dad. La Salle eventually lost in overtime to Syracuse, which made the Final Four.[4][6]

Basketball and sports were already in his family blood. His late father, Joseph C. Mihalich, was a pitcher in the New York Yankees farm system in the late 1940s, rooming with Whitey Ford before arm troubles sent him on the road to college studies and La Salle, where the elder Mihalich became a professor in philosophy, carving an academic niche in the subject of sports philosophy, while his son, Joseph A., played for Westhead before starting his coaching career.[7][8]

The Explorers made the NCAA tournament again his senior year. By then Mihalich knew he wanted to coach. He moved to the Maryland suburbs of Washington after graduation to be an assistant at DeMatha High School to legendary coach Morgan Wootten.[7]

Head coachEdit


Mihalich took his first head coaching opportunity by the horns and became the most steady program in the MAAC, earning a slew of honors, awards and postseason appearances in his 15 years at the helm of Niagara. At Niagara Mihalich amassed 265 victories making the NIT in 2004, 2009, and 2013 winning a game over Troy State in 2004. Mihalich's Niagara squads made the NCAA Tournaments in 2005 and 2007 winning a game versus Florida A & M in 2007.[4] Mihalich's teams are known for their up-tempo style scoring 70 points per game in nine of the last 10 seasons. Mihalich himself said "I played for Paul Westhead in college, coached with Morgan Wooten and Speedy Morris I think the up-tempo style is fun. Fun to play that way, fun to coach that way, it’s fun to watch."[9] This up-tempo, fun to watch style has earned Mihalich accolades to numerous to fully list however a few of his honors are; MAAC Coach of the Year in his first season at Niagara (1998–99), 2008 NABC District Coach of the Year, 2005 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District II Coach of the Year, 2007 Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) Coach of the Year Award, and 2013 MAAC Coach of the Year Award.[4]


A year of turmoil on and off the court led to head coach Mo Cassara being relieved of duties on March 22, 2013. After a nationwide search, on April 10, 2013, Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and Athletic Director Jeffrey Hathaway announced the hire of Mihalich. Mihalich brought over to his staff assistant coaches Mike Farrelly and Shane Nichols from Niagara. Mihalich later added Hofstra legend Craig "Speedy" Claxton as special assistant to the head coach who now serves as a full-time assistant coach for the team. In 2018–19, Mihalich led the Pride to the regular-season CAA title and was named CAA Coach of the Year.[10]

Prior to the 2020–21 season, Mihalich took a temporary leave of absence to deal with an unspecified medical issue.[11] He wound up missing the entire season, with Farrelly assuming interim head coaching duties. On March 19, 2021, the school announced that Mihalich would not return as head coach and will transition into a new role as special advisor to the director of athletics.[12]

Head coaching recordEdit

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Niagara Purple Eagles (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) (1998–2013)
1998–99 Niagara 17–12 13–5 1st
1999–2000 Niagara 17–12 10–8 4th
2000–01 Niagara 15–13 12–6 2nd
2001–02 Niagara 18–14 10–6 4th
2002–03 Niagara 17–12 12–6 4th
2003–04 Niagara 22–10 13–5 2nd NIT First Round
2004–05 Niagara 20–10 13–5 1st NCAA Round of 64
2005–06 Niagara 11–18 7–11 7th
2006–07 Niagara 23–12 13–5 2nd NCAA Round of 64
2007–08 Niagara 19–10 12–6 3rd
2008–09 Niagara 26–9 14–4 2nd NIT First Round
2009–10 Niagara 18–15 9–9 6th
2010–11 Niagara 9–23 5–13 8th
2011–12 Niagara 14–19 8–10 7th
2012–13 Niagara 19–14 13–5 1st NIT First Round
Niagara: 265–203 (.566) 164–104 (.612)
Hofstra Pride (Colonial Athletic Association) (2013–2021)
2013–14 Hofstra 10–23 5–11 8th
2014–15 Hofstra 20–14 10–8 5th CBI First Round
2015–16 Hofstra 24–10 14–4 1st NIT First Round
2016–17 Hofstra 15–17 7–11 T–7th
2017–18 Hofstra 19–12 12–6 3rd
2018–19 Hofstra 27–8 15–3 1st NIT First Round
2019–20 Hofstra 26–8 14–4 1st NCAA Tournament berth; Tournament cancelled
Hofstra Pride: 141–92 (.605) 77–47 (.588)
Total: 406–295 (.579)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ La Salle College Basketball Handbook 1977-1978, La Salle University, 1977, p. 15
  2. ^
  3. ^ Joe Mihalich.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Statements from former neighbors of Mihalich family.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b " – Shaping a coach's philosophy". Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Mihalich, Joseph C. (January 1, 1982). Sports and athletics: philosophy in action. Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 9780847670765.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Hofstra's Wright-Foreman repeats as CAA men's basketball Player of the Year" (Press release). Colonial Athletic Association. March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Joe Mihalich to take temporary medical leave of absence". The Hofstra Chronicle. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "MBB: Mihalich To Transition To New Role". Retrieved March 19, 2021.

External linksEdit