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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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Hawk Wall links alumni with current players

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Signatures fill the “Hawk Wall” in the Casciato Basketball Practice Facility. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22 / THE HAWK

The commencement of a new St. Joe’s basketball tradition took place on Oct. 18 when basketball greats Jameer Nelson ’04 and women’s basketball Associate Head Coach Susan Moran ’02  inked their signatures on the “Hawk Wall” in the Casciato Basketball Practice Facility. The signatures of alumni who have left their mark on the program now decorate the wall that serves as a backdrop for the current team’s practices.

After getting the idea from former player and current Director of Basketball Operations Rob Sullivan ’06 this past summer, Head Coach Phil Martelli set the plan in motion as a way to connect past alumni to the current team. Martelli said it was an idea based on similar traditions he saw at other schools.

“I always believed that we should have something special here, something that gives off a special aura,” Martelli said. “It’s a tangible way of thanking alumni for all that they’ve given to this program.

The wall is in line with Athletic Director Jill Bodensteiner’s mission of creating an atmosphere that encourages former athletes to come back and stay involved in the St. Joe’s community after they graduate.

“I’ve really been stressing in the department, we’ve got to make sure student athletes in all departments feel like this is home,” Bodensteiner said. “Once a Hawk, always a Hawk.”

After being ranked 2nd in History/Tradition in the Atlantic 10, Bodensteiner wanted a way to highlight these strengths for the program.

“As silly as those rankings are, it was really cool to get recognized for that,” Bodensteiner said. “It gives a guy like Jared Bynum a chance to look at Jameer Nelson and say ‘hey there’s a guard built like me.’”

Many alumni across generations have followed Moran and Nelson in returning to Hawk Hill to put their stamp on the wall.

“It’s definitely cool getting guys like Ronald Roberts and Jameer Nelson to come in,” freshman guard Jared Bynum said. “Jameer’s a pretty big deal, an NBA All-Star, so when you see him you’re like ‘wow this is the real deal.’”

Junior guard Ryan Daly already has a special connection with the wall, as his dad, former Hawk Brian Daly ’92, signed the wall.

“I think it’s really cool to have former alumni come back and embrace the tradition, especially seeing my dad as one of them,” Daly said. “Hopefully I’ll be back here doing the same thing after I graduate.”

Martelli said an important part of the wall was not only bringing back alumni, but also allowing the current team to see the rich history of the basketball program.

“We are only who we are today on the backs of people who came before us,” Martelli said. “We’re not the greatest, we’re just the latest to represent St. Joseph’s University.”

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