NJIT Basketball Staff Update

Brian Kennedy, who is entering his seventh season leading the NJIT men’s basketball program, has announced his full coaching staff as the Highlanders have returned to campus to begin their annual summer practice schedule and partake in summer classes. 

Earlier this summer, Kennedy hired Art Luptowski as an Assistant Coach and promoted Danny Manuel, who served as the program’s Director of Operations the past three seasons, to Assistant Coach. Luptowski and Manuel will join second-year Assistant Coach Ricardo Rush Jr. on the Highlanders’ bench. Kennedy has also tabbed Mike Hamlin to take over as Director of Operations. 

Luptowski. a veteran coach, who has led at almost every level in basketball, comes to Newark after serving as an Advance Scout in the NBA for seven of the last eight seasons. 

“It is not often you have the chance to hire someone with Coach Art Luptowski‘s experience and expertise,” explained Kennedy. “Art has been a collegiate Head Coach for 25 years and most recently has spent the last 7 years in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans. Our student athletes are so tremendously lucky to work with Coach Luptowski on a daily basis. He has an incredible passion to teach the game of basketball and he is known to have an unwavering affinity for his players off the court and in the classroom.  His hiring speaks volumes of where NJIT has come as a program.”

As an Advanced Scout, Luptowski’s duties included attending games and breaking them down so his team would be prepared for upcoming opponents. Luptowski scouted well over 600 NBA games in person during his career and nearly double that on video. 

Prior to his time in the NBA, which was split between the Detroit Pistons (2014-18), the Houston Rockets (2018-19), the Cleveland Cavaliers (2019-20), and the New Orleans Pelicans (2020-21), Luptowski served as a Head Coach at the NCAA Division II level for 25 seasons. 

Luptowski received his first head coaching job at Franklin Pierce University in 1999 and went on to coach there for 10 seasons before moving on to American International College, serving a 15-year stint. 

Overall, Luptowski won 386 games in his 25-year career as a Division II Head Coach and led his programs to a combined seven NCAA Tournaments. 

“I am beyond excited to join Coach Kennedy and the NJIT men’s basketball program,” explained Luptowski. “The staff at NJIT, not just in the men’s basketball program, but throughout the department, are second to none, and the facility is incredible. On top of that, we have a tremendous group of student-athletes that I am thrilled to get to work with day in and day out.” 

Manuel came to the NJIT men’s basketball program in August, 2019, following an impressive stint as the boy’s basketball Head Coach at his high school alma mater, The Miller School.

For the past three seasons, Manuel served as the Director of Operations, handling most of the program’s administrative needs.

“I am very excited to announce the promotion of Coach Danny Manuel to full-time assistant for the upcoming season,” added Kennedy. “Danny brings an unmatched enthusiasm and drive to our program and has shown that no job is too small to help our student-athletes as he served them as our Director of Basketball Operations. He has worked his way up the coaching ladder the old fashioned way, through hard work and dedication. Danny is more than ready to take the next step in his career and is laser focused on his goal of becoming a great college coach.”

Manuel came to NJIT in 2019 after re-building the Miller boy’s basketball program that won eight games the season before he arrived and transformed it into one of the top prep school programs in the country. In four seasons at Miller, Manuel sent several players to play in college and teams won 83 games, making the Virginia state championship three times, including 2017-18 when they won the title. 

Additionally, Manuel was named the Virginia State Coach of the Year following the 2017-18 season

Manuel played collegiately at Davis and Elkins College, where he graduated from in 2010 with a degree in history. 

Following his playing days, Manuel coached at St. Mary’s Ryken High School (Maryland) and Wheeling Jesuit. He earned a Master’s in organizational leadership from Wheeling Jesuit in 2013.

“I am excited to take the next step in my coaching career and even more excited to do it here at a great institution like NJIT,” said Manuel. “I most look forward to helping our talented student-athletes succeed, both on and off the basketball court.”

Hamlin comes to Newark following a tenure of almost 15 seasons in a variety of roles at his alma mater, Bloomsburg University. After starting as a student assistant coach during his undergraduate years at Bloomsburg, Hamlin was eventually promoted to volunteer assistant coach before spending the past seven seasons as the program’s full-time assistant coach.

“Coach Mike Hamlin is a huge addition to our program and ties together our coaching staff for the upcoming season,” concluded Kennedy. “A Philadelphia native, Coach Hamlin has spent the past 15 years as an assistant coach in the ultra competitive PSAC league. Mike has a tremendous reputation as an advocate for his student-athletes both on and off the court. The experience he brings to our Director of Basketball Operations is an incredible asset for our players and program.”

Between his stints in the volunteer and full-time roles at Bloomsburg, Hamlin spent one season as and assistant coach at Mansfield University. 

During his almost 15-year tenure at Bloomsburg, Hamlin had various roles including operations and game planning, NCAA compliance, academic advisement, video coordination, recruiting, and fundraising. Hamlin coached several players who earned high individual accolades, including and NABC First Team All-American, eight First Team All-PSAC members, a PSAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, and several 1,000 point scorers. 

In 2011-12, Hamlin led the Huskies to a 19-win season and a the program’s first playoff berth in more than a decade. Head Coach John Sarnow and Hamlin were honored as the PSAC Coaching Staff of the Year for their success.

In addition to working at Bloomsburg, Hamlin has also spent many years working with The Hoop Group in its Elite Camp, Skills Camp, Top 100 Camp and many other high-level camps and clinics. 

Hamlin received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Bloomsburg in 2011 and went on to earn his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Bloomsburg in 2021.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join the NJIT community,” said Hamlin. “Thank you to Coach Kennedy and the rest of the staff. I can’t wait to get to work, Go Highlanders!”


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