Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 14 Coach Countdown of the 2016-17 season. We like to rank the players of the A-10 each season, but we’d also like to take a look at the brains of the operations. Who were the best coaches of the 2016-17 season? Who were the worst? Our site voted and compiled a list based on last season alone. This list is representative of how well each coach performed in the 2016-17 season, not in his entire career. Today, we feature #10 Phil Martelli.
1. 76-68 road win over Princeton
Quite frankly, it’s unfair that Phil Martelli finds himself this low in the rankings. By no means does #10 represent where he’d be all-time. Unfortunately, his team faced a number of injuries in what already was a rebuilding year. With a lack of experience in his roster, Phil Martelli couldn’t help but struggle last season. That said, his team did find success in a 76-68 road win over Princeton. Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble were in sync, and Martelli utilized stud freshman Charlie Brown as well. Not only did a number of young guys see playing time and put some points on the board, but the Hawks played excellent defense on the road, holding Princeton to less than 1 point per possession. Credit Martelli’s utilization of young talent getting both freshmen and sophomores involved.
2. Home win over George Washington
Before the injuries of Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble, this team had promise at the beginning of conference play. Taking down George Washington 68-63 at home wasn’t an enormous win by any means, but it was a great way to start out conference play. Unfortunately for the Hawks, things wouldn’t go so well from there on out, and even though Phil Martelli had few cards to draw from, his team struggled to beat some of the worst in the league.
1. Double overtime home loss to Fordham
If you have Lamarr Kimble, James Demery, and Charlie Brown on your roster, there’s no reason you should lose at home to the Fordham Rams. In the final five minutes, Saint Joseph’s had a 99.1% chance of winning according to Kenpom, and the Hawks blew a 9 point lead and let the Rams force overtime. At home. Even as the Hawks led by 2 in the 2nd overtime session, they couldn’t hold Fordham who’d go on to win 86-83 in Hawk Hill. This was a steal for Fordham, and the Hawks should not have lost this game. Martelli’s got to find a way to stop the Rams and pull out the victory at home.
2. 3 losses to Massachusetts
Honestly, Massachusetts was playing worse than Saint Joseph’s for a majority of the season; it’s shocking that the Minutemen managed to beat Saint Joseph’s three times. Granted, the Hawks lost more and more players as the season went on, but Derek Kellogg’s team absolutely crumbled towards the end of the season. It’s shocking that any Phil Martelli team lost to a Derek Kellogg team three times in one season. Given the circumstances, Phil Martelli should be cut tons of slack, but he still failed to win close games, and the Hawks grossly underperformed, even when accounting for their misfortune.
Saint Joseph’s pretty much returns everyone next season, and with a healthy lineup, I’d expect this team to finish in the top 6 next year. Phil Martelli is a proven coach who’s had tons of success at Saint Joseph’s throughout his tenure; one down season should not worry any fans. With a full load of talent, he’s going to have a chance to take next year’s team far, and with young and developing talent like Charlie Brown, this team has a bright future.