New Hofstra basketball coach Joe Mihalich maintained ties to the past -- his own and the Pride's -- when his coaching staff was announced Tuesday. Former Hofstra great Craig "Speedy" Claxton joins Mihalich's entire four-man staff from his previous job at Niagara in an effort to restore the program to prominence.
"When you talk about Hofstra basketball, you talk about Speedy Claxton," Mihalich said. "The two go hand in hand. He's an icon when it comes to Hofstra basketball."
Claxton, who is one of four 2,000-point scorers in school history, holds the school record for assists and steals and led Hofstra to an NCAA Tournament berth as a senior in 2000. After a seven-year playing career in the NBA and two years as a scout for Golden State, he will serve as a special assistant to Mihalich, a role in which he is not allowed to coach on-court or recruit off-campus under NCAA rules.
"What excites me is that he wants to get into coaching and learn the trade," Mihalich said of Claxton. "It's going to be great to have his presence even though it's limited. There's no doubt he'll find a way to make a great contribution."
Under terms of his Warriors contract, Claxton can't comment on his new job until his deal with the NBA team expires at the end of next month.
The holdovers from Mihalich's successful Niagara staff include assistants Mike Farrelly, Kyle Neptune and Shane Nichols along with Colin Curtin, who will continue his role as director of basketball operations for Mihalich. Neptune is a Brooklyn native. "Continuity is part of it. You can talk about loyalty, but more than that, they're very, very good at what they do," Mihalich said of his young staff. "It just seemed like the perfect fit . . . They're young, hungry, eager, willing, all the things you want from your staff."
Since being hired in mid-April, Mihalich has announced five recruits, two of whom transferred from Niagara and won't be eligible for another year. He said the late start "is a great, great challenge. We're trying to be as creative as possible. We had a couple kids in for visits this past weekend. But we're not going to sacrifice quality because of timing."