Hofstra University Vice President and Director of Athletics Rick Cole Jr. announced today that Head Men’s Basketball Coach Joe Mihalich will transition to a new role within the department and serve as a special advisor to the director of athletics.
“Coach Mihalich has been an incredible leader, educator, and steward of our men’s basketball program over the past eight years,” commented Cole Jr. “His leadership from day one has allowed our program to experience tremendous levels of success, both on and off the court. He values the student-athlete experience in every way and has put a priority on winning the right way. Joe is a wonderful ambassador for our University and I am personally thrilled to have him as a trusted colleague here at Hofstra. Joe’s remarkable level of success here at Hofstra and at every stop along his unbelievable coaching career showcases the type of coach and person he is. We are so grateful for his years of service on the sidelines here at Hofstra.”
“I always said to my sons and my teams ‘END ON A MAKE’…and that’s what I did,” stated Mihalich. “I love Hofstra University and the entire Pride family. Having that championship moment in 2020 is something I, and the entire Hofstra family, will never forget. I am thankful for all of the student-athletes that I have coached and the staff members that were with me over the past eight years. I look forward to serving the Hofstra Pride in a new role and seeing our programs continue to flourish.”
“Joe Mihalich‘s character and leadership abilities have always been evident in everything he has done, from leading our basketball program to serving as an ambassador for Hofstra University,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “His counsel is invaluable to all of our athletic programs and offerings, for our students, coaches, alumni, and community. He is first and foremost an educator of remarkable dedication and skill, and his presence here at Hofstra enhances our campus community.”
Mihalich engineered a masterful resurgence of the Pride during his tenure, revitalizing a program that was coming off a seven-win campaign and, in three years, turned it into a team with back-to-back 20 win seasons and consecutive postseason appearances. He captured 141 wins while at Hofstra and averaged more than 22 victories per season over his last five campaigns on the sidelines. In his seven seasons on the sidelines at Hofstra, Mihalich posted four 20-win seasons, led the Pride to three regular season Colonial Athletic Association titles, earned four postseason appearances, and captured the 2019-20 CAA title for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2001.
The 2019-20 season saw Hofstra have a magical year as the Pride won 26 games and captured its second straight outright CAA regular season title. The Pride became only the sixth team in conference history (since 1982-83) to win back-to-back outright conference regular season titles. In addition, four student-athletes were recognized by the CAA on their postseason all-conference teams. For his strong work during the 2019-20 campaign, Mihalich was named a finalist for the Hugh Durham Award, presented annually to the top mid-major coach in Division I college basketball, and for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award.
Hofstra set a school record with 27 victories during the 2018-19 season and earned its first outright regular season conference title since the 2000-01 season. The Pride advanced to the CAA Championship Game and the regular season title earned Hofstra an automatic berth in the National Invitation Tournament.
During the incredible 2018-19 season, Hofstra had a spectacular 16-game win streak along the way. He was named the CAA Coach of the Year for his efforts, becoming the first Hofstra coach to earn that honor since the Pride joined the CAA in 2001-02.
He also earned many other coaching accolades that year as he was named the United States Basketball Writers Association District II Coach of the Year, the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 10 Coach of the Year, and a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award and the Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award. Prior to the year, he added to his awards as he was inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame.
Mihalich’s strong ability to recruit talented student-athletes has seen Hofstra capture three CAA Player of the Year awards during his coaching tenure in Hempstead and multiple players have moved on to professional basketball careers after graduation.
Mihalich, who guided the Niagara University to five postseason appearances during his tenure as the Purple Eagles head coach, was named the 12th head coach in the history of the Hofstra University Men’s Basketball program on April 10, 2013. Mihalich came to Hofstra after leading the Purple Eagles since 1998. During that time he won 265 games, earned a pair of NCAA Tournament berths, made three National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances, and was named the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award winner in 2012-13.
A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately. Mike Farrelly will continue to serve as the program’s acting head coach.