Saint Joseph’s has fired longtime head coach Phil Martelli.
“Following a comprehensive evaluation of the [Saint Joseph’s basketball program] will make a leadership change and immediately start the search for a new head coach,” the program tweeted on Tuesday morning, confirming earlier reports.
Martelli went 444-328 in 24 seasons and led the Hawks to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1997 Sweet Sixteen and 2004 Elite Eight. However, he won only 41 total games over the last three years.
With Martelli out, who might Saint Joseph’s target as their next head coach?
It’s the first major hire for first-year athletics director Jill Bodensteiner, who arrived in Philadelphia last summer after two decades at Notre Dame. She could look across town at Kyle Neptune, next in line from Jay Wright’s Villanova coaching tree.
Neptune is a Brooklyn native who’s spent his entire career in the northeast, including six years on Joe Mihalich’s staffs at Niagara and Hofstra. He’s been mentioned as a potential candidate at Fordham should the Rams fire Jeff Neubauer.
Bodensteiner could at least triple the salary of NC Central head coach LeVelle Moton, who’s delivered four tourney appearances in the last six years and was a candidate for the East Carolina job last year.
UPDATED: 2019 Coaching Change Tracker
Colgate’s Matt Langel is an interesting name, as is former Colgate assistant and current Bucknell head coach Nathan Davis. A former Penn (alma mater) and Temple assistant, Langel led the Raiders to their first tourney berth in 23 years, while Davis has two tourney appearances in four seasons and is averaging 22 wins per year.
Other current mid-major coaches to watch: UMBC’s Ryan Odom, Fairleigh Dickinson’s Greg Herenda, Georgia State’s Ron Hunter, Lipscomb’s Casey Alexander and Radford’s Mike Jones. Also, former La Salle and Villanova assistant (two stints) and current 76ers’ assistant Billy Lange could be an under-the-radar name.