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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Jill Bodensteiner on the search for new head coach

Director of Athletics Jill Bodensteiner at the March 19 press conference regarding Phil Martelli’s firing. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

The current head coaching vacancy on the men’s basketball team is set to be filled within the week, according to Director of Athletics Jill Bodensteiner, J.D. Former Head Coach Phil Martelli was fired March 18 after holding the position for 24 years.

The Hawk sat down with Bodensteiner to talk about the search process and what she is looking for in a new head coach.

How many coaches have you interviewed?

I’ve probably talked to more than I’ve interviewed, so there’s a two-way street in gauging interest of even getting to the interview stage. I interviewed nine candidates.

Have the interviews been in person or on the phone?

One on the phone due to extraordinary travel concerns of that individual.

How has the list of candidates changed since Tuesday [the announcement of Martelli’s firing]?

I can say this honestly that I did virtually nothing related to the coach search until later last week. There were immediate needs that needed to be taken care of in the department. Other people were managing media, but I was dealing with the student athletes, making sure I’m answering any questions, talking with assistant coaches, meeting with any supporting staff. First and foremost, let’s get people here knowing as much as they can and hopefully as emotionally stable as possible—even if it’s just to tell the student athletes, “Here’s the timeline. Here’s what you can expect from me during that process.” So I didn’t get focused until Friday, Saturday. And at that point, I dug really deep into candidates.

In terms of finding a coach who will be successful in the Atlantic 10 Conference, how have you adjusted your search to find the best possible candidate?

There are a couple considerations that have to do with geography that come up when you’re looking at your shortlist, and one is recruiting. I’m a big believer in that we can’t just recruit Philadelphia, but you have to be able to recruit Philadelphia. And the question there is, do we find a local, or can they hire a staff that has recruiting ties? That’s one way geography matters. The second is does this person have any sense of the A-10? And then I would add a third thing in terms of recruiting. Big 5 Philadelphia basketball is different, and it’s special. As a factor it is something you want to look at, that unique and special bond. There’s a collegiality among the coaches here that’s unusual, a large part because of that Big 5. So, yeah, I thought a lot about those things. Now were they defining characteristics? No, but important things to think about.

In terms of a larger basketball spectrum, what are your qualifiers?

The pool of candidates are very diverse. And I mean that in every sense of the word, in terms of demographics, in terms of racial aspects, in terms of current and past experiences. There are head coaches, assistant coaches, people with pro experience, people with college experience, people with both.

Has there been any input from any of the players?

I met collectively and individually with the returning student athletes, and we mapped out what’s important to them in terms of criteria, and that was the basis of most of my questions. So again, digging into culture, digging into player development. “What’s your player development plan? What is your skill instruction in the offseason look like?” All questions based on what the student athletes told me was important to them.

Have you given players any conditions as to when they need to notify you if they’re going to stay or not?

No, the conversation has just been a two-way street. I’ll keep you posted, you keep me posted, and again I hope you stay, and I hope you like this community. If that’s not your decision, then I’ll support you. We’ll support you however we can. There are obviously NCAA rules attached with it. I’ll support any waver. We’ll let them go wherever they want to. I’m not going to ban them from going to any schools on our schedule or anything like that. Again, it’s the right thing to do, and we’re the ones who made a change. They deserve to do what’s best for them.

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