The deal is done. Former longtime St. Joseph’s basketball coach Phil Martelli will be a top assistant to new Michigan head coach Juwan Howard.
Let go as Hawks head coach in March after 24 seasons, Martelli had said the next day he wanted to return to a sideline.
“I do know this, 40 hours later,’’ Martelli said. “I do have the juice. I do want to coach again. I won’t let it scar me.”
Many people — most probably — had expected Martelli, 64, to segue into television. That hadn’t been his initial primary thought. He didn’t rule it out, but made it clear he considered himself a coach.
“I want, and in a way need, to be on a sideline,’’ Martelli had said in March. “Not to justify my career at St. Joseph’s. To have an impact, on players, on a campus, on a student body.”
There were no openings this offseason where Martelli seemed a prime contender. But this move makes sense in that Howard had never worked at a college. An experienced hand next to him is almost mandatory.
Howard, a Miami Heat assistant since 2013 who was hitting NBA short lists for head-coaching positions, spent almost two decades in the NBA as a player after being a member of Michigan’s famed Fab Five squad in the early 1990s.