Hofstra will introduce Niagara's Joe Mihalich as its new basketball coach Wednesdayat a noon news conference, sources with knowledge of the hiring said Tuesday night. Mihalich, 56, the winningest coach in MAAC history, was given a six-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.
Mihalich will take over a program that ended a tumultuous season with third-year coach Mo Cassara being fired after a 7-25 record and the arrest of six players for off-court incidents. Cassara's assistants have remained with the program, but no decision on their future under Mihalich has been discussed. Hofstra, which last week announced the departure of three players from its roster, is expected to announce its freshman recruiting class next Wednesday.
Mihalich, the 2012-13 MAAC coach of the year, had been at Niagara since 1998. He is the conference's all-time winningest coach with 265 victories. He led Niagara to two NCAA berths and three appearances in the NIT. Mihalich has won at least 17 games 11 times in his 15 seasons at Niagara. He led the Purple Eagles to a victory over Florida A&M in the 2006-07 NCAA Tournament. This past season. Niagara won 19 games to earn the conference title.
From 1981 to 1998, Mihalich was an assistant coach at La Salle, where he was part of eight postseason teams, including five NCAA Tournament teams. Mihalich got his coaching career started at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., the alma mater of Hofstra athletic director Jeff Hathaway.
Before deciding on Mihalich, who initially denied interest in the position, Hofstra interviewed several candidates, including Iona coach Tim Cluess, who started his career at St. Mary's High School before entering the college game at then Suffolk CC-Brentwood and later at then-C.W. Post. Iona issued a statement attributed to Cluess that said he was "recommitted to coaching the Gaels.''