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Looks like Hofstra may have found their next coach in Niagara’s Joe Mihalich.
The Purple Eagles head man is reportedly the next coach of the Pride, according to Steven Marcus of Newsday. He has spent the past 15 seasons at Niagara, taking them to two NCAA Tournaments with two MAAC Tournament championships. The program has also been to three NITs under Mihalich, the most recent visit coming after a regular season conference title this year.
This is a surprising hire, mainly because it never felt like the 56-year-old Mihalich would ever leave Niagara. He’s the program’s all-time leader with 256 wins and built the program into one of the most consistent in the MAAC. Before Mihalich arrived, the Purple Eagles had only made one NCAA tournament appearance, in 1970. In the 22 years prior to Mihalich’s hire in 1998, they made just two postseason appearances overall, trips to the 1987 and 1993 NIT.
Niagara finished this season 19-14, winning the MAAC regular season title and ending the year with an 86-72 loss at Maryland in the first round of the NIT.
The Pride hires Mihalich on the heels of firing Mo Cassara on March 22. Hofstra finished this season 7-25 and had even more trouble off the court, with six players being arrested during the season. In three seasons as coach, Cassara was 38-59 overall. The season had promise, with key transfers Jamal Coomes-McDaniel and Shaquille Stokes expected to help the team compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. That didn’t happen, with Stokes being one of four players suspended following burglary charges earlier and Coomes-McDaniel electing to leave the team after the season.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten