The George Washington athletic department announced earlier today that Maurice Joseph has been named interim head coach.
BREAKING: George Washington has promoted assistant Maurice Joseph to interim head coach for the 16-17 season, sources told @CBSSports.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 27, 2016
“MoJo” had been an assistant under Mike Lonergan for the past five years at GW, and helped the Colonials to the NIT Championship last season.
“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” said Joseph. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role.”
Athletic Director, Patrick Nero said of Joseph: “In his five years at GW, Maurice has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university. His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year.”
The selection may come as a surprise to some, especially since Maurice Joseph was not the lead-assistant coach last season: Hajj Turner was. But there is one man who is not surprised at the naming of Joseph: Michigan State head coach, Tom Izzo.
“It brings me great excitement and pride to hear that Maurice Joseph will lead the George Washington program,” said Izzo. “He entered Michigan State as an intelligent player with great people skills, and would quickly develop the discipline and toughness that will serve him well in his new role. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he is incredibly well suited to lead the Colonials.
“I’ve loved watching him grow as a coach and I know his journey has positioned him for success. He understands how to tackle the adversity that comes with the coaching profession. Perhaps most importantly, he is great at building and maintaining relationships with players, administration, alumni and media. That’s why I’m looking forward to watching the next step in his bright young coaching career.”
Maurice played for two seasons under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, averaging 5.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.
— Maurice Joseph (@CoachMoJo_) March 24, 2016
He then transferred to Vermont, where he lead the Catamounts to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, averaging 13.9 points per game under, you guessed it, coach Mike Lonergan.
Maurice takes over a Colonials team with 8 new players, and a daunting schedule ahead. But if GW is to pick up where they left off last year, then they’ve found the man for the job-literally. The season kicks off Friday November 11 vs UMES.