St. Peter's head coach Shaheen Holloway reacts during the first...

St. Peter's head coach Shaheen Holloway reacts during the first half against North Carolina in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday in Philadelphia. Credit: AP

Shaheen Holloway is leaving Cinderella Saint Peter’s for Seton Hall just days after helping the little Jesuit school make history by becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

Seton Hall athletic director Bryan Felt announced the hiring of the 45-year-old early Wednesday evening.

It really wasn’t a surprise.

Holloway played for the Pirates of the Big East Conference and his move to replace Kevin Willard has been a hot topic since the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Willard left last week for the head job at Maryland.

Holloway, whose Peacocks knocked off No. 2 seed Kentucky. No. 7 Murray State and No. 3 seed Purdue before falling to North Carolina, will get a substantial raise. Willard earned $2.4 million last season, about tenfold what Holloway got at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Confernece school in Jersey City, New Jersey. Holloway, whose teams play a hard-nosed game trademarked by defense, will be introduced at a campus news conference on Thursday.

“Life has a way of coming full circle,” Holloway said in a statement. “This is certainly a full circle moment for my family and I. Seton Hall is near and dear to my heart; it’s where I became a man, where I met the love of my life, where I spent countless hours honing my crafts as a basketball player and a basketball coach. To say that I’m excited to get started as the head men’s basketball coach at Seton Hall University would be an understatement.”

Holloway led the Peacocks to a run of three consecutive top-three finishes in the MAAC, a first for the program since the school’s first three seasons in the conference in the early 1980s. They won the MAAC Tournament to make their first NCAA Tournament since 2011. The program was 64-57 under his lead, including 22-12 in 2021-22.

Prior to Saint Peter’s, Holloway helped build a foundation at Seton Hall that turned it into a program that competes for NCAA Tournament bids and Big East championships on a yearly basis.

In eight seasons as associate head coach under Willard from 2010-18, the Pirates experienced a multitude of success both on and off the court. Holloway also was on Willard’s staff at Iona, where they turned the Gaels’ program around. They transformed a 2-28 team in 2006-07 into a 21-win team in 2009-10.

Holloway was a four-year standout at Seton Hall from 1996-2000 and helped lead the team to the 2000 NCAA Sweet 16. He hit the winning layup in overtime to defeat Oregon in the first round.

The New York City product holds the Pirates’ record with 681 career assists and was inducted into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. Holloway becomes the first Seton Hall graduate to lead the men’s basketball program since 1953 graduate Richie Regan led the Pirates from 1960-70.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Shaheen Holloway and his family home to Seton Hall,” athletic director Bryan Felt said. “Shaheen is a winner in every sense of the word, and he is not only an incredible coach, but also an incredible educator of young men. He works tirelessly to put his student-athletes in a position to succeed, and he makes them believe that they can achieve anything with hard work and determination. That is evidenced by his historic NCAA Tournament run this month.”

Willard recommended Holloway succeed him after the Pirates were beaten by TCU on March 18 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

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