Phil Martelli is one of the most succesful basketball coaches in college basketball.
The 2003-04 season was atypical even for the St. Joe's, Martelli marriage. He has coached the St. Joseph's University Hawks to a 27-0 regular season record, a national ranking in the top 25 the entire season, including a number 3 ranking in January and a number 1 in Febuary, 2004 to become the smallest school in the last 40 years to be ranked number 1. The Hawks who set a school record, winning their first 16 games in a row, the best start in school history have also achieved a number 1 seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. They have to date advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" level and a face-off withWake Forest.
The Hawks are moving on to the "Elite Eight." The evening of March 25, 2004 saw the Hawks beat a very goodWake Forest team by the final score of 84-80. This was heart pumping, sustained, high octane, action basketball from buzzer to buzzer. The game turned on the play of St. Joseph's outstanding backcourt duo, certainly the best duo in the country this season, this young century and perhaps in the previous decade or two. "To me, it's about the kids and how tough they've been. It's really not about sticking our chests out," Martelli said. "We're one of the best teams in the country and the best story in college basketball." A little recognition, some respect thats all they want and they've certainly earned it.
The United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) has named Saint Joseph's Phil Martelli the winner of the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award for the 2003-04' season.
Martelli, in his ninth year at the helm of St. Joseph's basketball program has put his name alongside the legendary St. Joe's basketball coach of another era; Jack Ramsey. The last time an NCAA Division I men's basketball team had a perfect regular season was when the 1990-91' UNLV Running Rebels accomplished the feat. Prior to 91' it hadn't been done since 1979, pretty heady company for a school with an entire enrollment of some 3800 students.
Martelli was an assistant coach at St. Joe's for 10 years prior to his opportunity to become the head coach. He accepted the head coach's job in July of 1995 and hasen't looked back since. He has coached the Hawks to four NCAA Tournaments and two NIT appearances in his 9 years on the job. Prior to the 2003-04' season the Hawks had two 26-7 records earning them final national poll rankings.
In looking at Martelli's playing and coaching career prior to his arrival at St. Joe's its easy to see he was "success waiting to happen."
Martelli was the head basketball coach at Bishop Kenrick High where he coached his team to six straight Catholic League playoff appearances, a school record. His teams set Kenrick's all-time mark for wins. He was named prep Coach of the Year by both of Philadelphia's major dailies.
Prior to Kendrick he was an assistant at Widener, his alma mater where he helped coach them to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Martelli was a much heralded point guard on the Widener NCAA Tournament teams of the mid-70's. He set the single season and career assist marks and was team co-captain his senior year at Widener.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Catholic School Hall of Fame inducted Martelli into its hallowed halls in October of 1998.
Martelli, who graduated from Widener University lives with his wife Judy in Drexel Hill, Pa. They have three children, Philip, Jimmy and Elizabeth.
Some of his accomplishments are:
- Winner of the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award for the 2003-04'
- Coached St. Joes to a perfect 27-0 regular season mark 2003-04'
- Hawks led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.372) 2003-04'
- Hawks ranked seventh in scoring defense (59.5 ppg.) 2003-04'
- Coached the Hawks to four NCAA tournaments including an "Elite Eight" appearance
- Coached the Hawks to two NIT appearances
- St. Joe's smallest school in the last 40 years to be ranked Number 1 nationally
- Twice named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
- Twice named Eastern Basketball Coach of the Year
- Inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000
- Three consecutive Atlantic-10 Conference regular season titles
- Two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in three seasons
- ECAC Team of the Year - 1996-97'
- Philadelphia Big 5 Team of the Year - 1996-97'
- Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year by the USBWA - 1996-97'
- District Coach of the Year by the USBWA, NABC, Eastern Basketball, The Basketball Times - 1996-97'
- Named Eastern College Coach of the Year by B'nai B'rith Sports Lodge 1996-97'
- Named Co-Philadelphia Big 5 Coach of the Year 1996-97'
- Named Philadelphia Big 5 Coach of the Year 1995-96'
- Coached Bishop Kenrick High to six straight school record playoff appearances
- Named prep Coach of the Year by both of Philadelphia's major dailies
- Degree from Widener University