PHIL MARTELLI did not discourage or encourage his two sons about his profession. He just answered questions and let them make the decisions.
Phil Martelli Jr. knew very early he wanted to be a basketball coach. It took Jimmy Martelli until after he finished college at Dickinson. Now, they are both in, all the way in.
"My son Jimmy wanted no parts of it," the Saint Joseph's head coach said. "When he was a kid, he wanted to be an athletic director."
Jimmy wasn't sure about coaching because he saw how much time and effort his father put into it and the potential downside of that.
"I was fine with it," Jimmy said. "I just wasn't sure I wanted to put anybody else through it."
Phil Jr. had few reservations.
"When I was in sixth grade, I knew I either wanted to coach or I wanted to be on WIP," he said.
He chose coaching.
"It was being around practice, being around the guys growing up," said Phil Jr.
Phil Martelli Jr., who played for his father at St. Joe's, is an assistant at Niagara. Jimmy Martelli is an assistant at Rutgers.
After graduating from Dickinson, Jimmy stayed on as a volunteer coach.
"[Jimmy] got hooked on recruiting," Phil said. "He loved it."
He still does.
These days, weeks after arriving at Rutgers with new head coach Mike Rice, Jimmy is using the back of his car as a closet and has spent a few nights sleeping on the couch in the locker room, watching DirecTV. He is about to put in a bid on a townhouse, where he might actually sleep when he is not recruiting.
"I love developing the relationships," Jimmy said. "It's a cast of characters. You never know what you're going to get into."
When his sons said they wanted in, Phil said, "You have to do it the right way. Can't cut any corners."
Networking was key.
One summer, Phil Jr. and his cousin, R.C. Kehoe (an assistant at Delaware), drove to Louisville and Wake Forest to work camps, to meet people.
And the father wanted to make sure the sons understood the entire picture.
"You have to be hardened," he told them. "You're not old enough to remember [me] driving the vans at Bishop Kenrick or sweeping the floors. It was so long ago that people used to write you letters, even when they wanted to write something nasty."
And he gave them this advice:
"I told them when they decide to marry, make sure you marry somebody that understands," Phil said. "To live this life without someone at home that understands, it just leads to a disaster in your personal life."
And when they still said they wanted to do it, Phil was not at all displeased.
"I actually took it as a real compliment that they wanted to do this because they understood it was more than just what a lot of people think, [that] it's 30 nights a year," Phil said. "This is really a way of life."
For father and sons.
"With our family, we're just always around it," Phil Jr. said. "It becomes something you can't imagine being without."