Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Martelli gets extension through 2015-16

The kid who grew up telling his dad and buddies he would someday become head coach of St. Joseph's basketball, and who was once passed over for the position, now might be on the job until he is near retirement age.

The kid who grew up telling his dad and buddies he would someday become head coach of St. Joseph's basketball, and who was once passed over for the position, now might be on the job until he is near retirement age.

The university yesterday announced that Phil Martelli has agreed to a four-year contract extension through the 2015-16 season. Now 54, Martelli, who begins his 14th season as the Hawks head coach when they open practice tomorrow, will be 62 when the current contract expires.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Five years ago, upon arriving at St. Joseph's, I knew Phil Martelli by reputation only," said the Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, university president, in a statement. "Today I am proud to know him as an extraordinary individual who is also an exceptional leader of our men's basketball program. I could not be more delighted that the remainder of Phil's coaching career will be spent on Hawk Hill."

Martelli starts the season with a 261-152 record, second on the school's all-time list for career wins behind Bill Ferguson, who won 325 games in 25 seasons. His 17-9 mark in postseason games is best among Hawks coaches - an impressive list that includes the legendary Jack Ramsay, Jim Lynam and Jack McKinney, all of whom coached in the NBA.

"My family and I are deeply appreciative of the unique opportunity that has been given to me at St. Joseph's," Martelli said. "It's an honor to represent all who have worn St. Joseph's across their chest. Father Lannon and [director of athletics] Don DiJulia make it easy for me to pursue my passion."

Under Martelli, the Hawks have made five NCAA tourney and four NIT appearances. His 2003-04 team, which went 27-0 during the regular season and was led by current NBA guards Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, advanced to the Elite Eight before losing in the final seconds to Oklahoma State. That team went into the NCAA tourney ranked No. 1 in the nation. It was a remarkable achievement in an era when college basketball is dominated by large universities with Division I-A football programs.

Martelli's 1996-97 team advanced to the Sweet 16. The Hawks have played in the Atlantic Ten Conference title game three of the last four seasons. Two of Martelli's teams played for the NIT title.

Martelli was named St. Joe's coach in 1995 after serving as an assistant for 10 seasons. Since then, he has become one of the city's most recognizable sports figures, largely because of his wit, engaging personality, and dedication to charitable causes, most notably the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

As Philadelphian as the soft pretzel, Martelli, who grew up in the Southwest part of the city, is an unabashed fan of the city's professional sports teams. If the Phillies win the World Series, it would surprise no one to find Martelli standing on the sidewalk at a parade down Broad Street.

"Phil Martelli and St. Joseph's University have always been a perfect match," DiJulia said. "He shares the university's passion for excellence and, more importantly, it's long-standing commitment to the greater good. Phil is a tireless ambassador for all that makes Hawk Hill special."

Published