Former Profs’ head coach had spent last three seasons on staff as an assistant
Joe Cassidy, who has devoted close to 30 years to the Rowan University men’s basketball program, has announced his retirement. He leaves as the Profs’ all-time leader in victories (336) in 20 years as head coach while experiencing a national championship and three Final Fours during his time as an assistant coach.
For the past three seasons, Cassidy has served as associate head coach, helping the Profs go 52-30 that included an NCAA Tournament bid and the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament Championship in 2018-19.
As Rowan’s head coach, Cassidy guided the Profs to four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, 15 trips to the NJAC Championship Tournament, and the conference title in 1998-99. Through his 20-year tenure, he had seven players earn All-America honors and saw 34 of his players chosen to the All-Conference teams, three of his student-athletes selected as the NJAC Player of the Year and one earn the league’s Rookie of the Year award.
“Joe Cassidy had a historic impact on Rowan men’s basketball. As a head coach, no one has more wins in the program’s history while he positively impacted hundreds of student-athletes and student managers,” said interim athletic director John Giannini. “We coached together during a historic run of success and we were very much co-head coaches. Joe’s contributions to our National Championship and Final Four teams were enormous. I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for Rowan basketball and Rowan athletics. Like other outstanding coaches in our history, Coach Cassidy will forever be part of the Rowan family.”
“I love basketball and I love coaching. It was great to work with so many outstanding student-athletes and watch them grow on and off the court,” said Cassidy. “I have wonderful memories and will cherish all the relationships, including those with the many outstanding assistant coaches such as Dave Lafferty.”
“I listened to Joe all the time on the bench or in the office. He had great insight into the team,” said Joe Crispin, who took over as head coach in 2016. “He’s just a team guy and that was certainly obvious when we made the switch. He made the decision and it was just done. There was never an issue and it was never uncomfortable, and that was because of him. Joe’s approach was positive and he was always looking to make things better. It was never about him and that’s very rare these days.”
Prior to being named the Profs’ 11th head coach in 1996-97, Cassidy was an assistant coach on Giannini’s staff for five seasons. During that time, Rowan won the national championship in 1996 and reached the national semifinals in 1993 and 1995. Additionally, he served as Rowan’s athletic academic coordinator.
Cassidy came to Rowan after serving as assistant men’s basketball coach under coach Eddie Burke at Drexel University from 1980 to 1991. He was also the head basketball coach at Harriton High School (1979-80) and an assistant under Ray Edelman at The Haverford School (1976-78).
A native of Ardmore, PA who attended Archbishop Carroll High School, Cassidy has been recognized as the Coach of the Year by numerous organizations during his career, including the NJAC, the NABC, the Philadelphia Small College Coaches and the New Jersey Collegiate Basketball Coaches Association.
Cassidy, a 1974 graduate of Saint Joseph’s University, served as the famed Hawk mascot his junior and senior years. He and his wife Betty Ann have a son, Tyler, and daughter, Devon.
What Cassidy’s Former Players are Saying:
“Coach was always there for me, on and off the court. From the beginning, he helped me get started at Rowan and then constantly stayed on top of me to make sure I succeeded. Looking back, I realize it was about more than just basketball and Coach Cass was helping my development into manhood. I’ll always cherish my times playing for Coach Cass.”
– Matt Byrnes, 2004-08
“During the (Iraq) War, we only had a few moments when were able to make a call back home to the States. My call would be to my father and when I spoke with him, he told me that Coach Cassidy called to check in to see how I was doing. Knowing that Coach was thinking about me during a tough time made me feel euphoric…. I can go on for days what I have learned from this man and his wife Betty Ann. When asked about him I think of the perfect husband and father to his wife and kids, plus a coach, mentor and friend who continuously pushes education… You only meet a few people in life who can impact you in a positive way and Coach Cassidy did that for me.”
– Ryan Cochrane, 1995-97, 2003
“I was Coach Cass’ first recruit at Rowan as a transfer and he told me ‘If you come to Rowan, we will do some great things and I will always have your back’. That was tested when I had to fight the legal system because of a wrongful accusation and he was there with me every step of the way… He has been much more than a coach for me. He has been a second dad, my favorite uncle and most importantly, a true and dearest friend… I would not be where I am in life if we never crossed paths.”
– John Randall, 1996-99
“When Coach Cass got the head coaching job, he called me and told me that I would be ‘the man’. And I did become an All-American under him. We went 21-0 before we lost in his first season. He was a coach I had a connection with. More importantly, he was there for me and was actually at my graduation. He helped me understand how important it was to get my degree.”
– Rob Scott, 1994-98
“Coach Cassidy is one of those coaches that loves the game of basketball and impacting young men lives. He is someone who will always hold a special place in my life.”
– Terrence Stewart, 1992-96
“Coach Cassidy is an excellent coach, but he is an even better person. I have a ton of great memories of big wins, but what really sticks out to me are the times that we would spend talking in his office. It could be one-on-one, or a group of us in there, and we would talk basketball, strategy for our next game, Philly sports, family, or about life in general. He always had time, not only for his players, but for anyone to come in and chat it up. Those were great times… My father passed away my senior year of high school and while I didn’t realize it at the time, I think it was important for me to play for a coach that cares about his players the way Coach Cassidy does. He and (assistant) Coach (Dave) Lafferty were a great influence on me through my college years and I continue to stay in touch with them today. I consider myself very fortunate to have played for Coach Cassidy and now to call him a friend.”
– Bob Weir, 2001-05