A former longtime head coach who knows the ins and outs of the college game. A key holdover from former coach John Beilein’s tenure. An ex-NBA pro turned assistant with Detroit roots.
All the different pieces of Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s coaching staff are officially in place as the program announced the hiring of assistant coaches Phil Martelli, Saddi Washington and Howard Eisley on Friday.
"When I took this job, I told everyone I was looking to fill the staff with experienced basketball coaches who are ego-less, hardworking and ones that will help our young men grow both on and off the court -- I feel I have done that," said Howard. "Phil is so highly respected in the sport of basketball -- on every level -- it is an honor that he has decided to join us. He brings such a wealth of knowledge and creativity, which I know will be beneficial as we move forward.
"Howard and I have known each other for a long time. We have competed against each other and risen up the NBA coaching ranks together. It's going to be great to finally be working and collaborating together. Observing what Saddi has accomplished over his last three years has been just amazing. His versatility and coaching style resonates with kids and that will be valuable. I am so pleased he decided to remain on our staff."
The blend and balance of basketball minds starts with Martelli, who boasts the most coaching experience of the bunch. A former four-time Atlantic 10 coach of the year, Martelli will serve as the top assistant who will help Howard learn the ropes and navigate the challenges that come with being a first-time head coach.
Martelli, 64, has spent the last 34 years at Saint Joseph’s. He was head coach since 1995 and was an assistant coach for the previous 10 seasons. During Martelli’s time at the helm, the Hawks made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, won four Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and posted a 444-328 record.
"I am so appreciative for the opportunity to work with a rising star, Juwan Howard," said Martelli. "I was very humbled that he would reach out and ask me to join his first staff. I pledge that I will exhaust myself to make all affiliated with the University of Michigan proud."
Washington, 43, is the only Michigan assistant who was retained by Howard. While Washington primarily worked with the Wolverines’ big men – the same position group Howard helped develop as an assistant with the Miami Heat – during his three seasons in Ann Arbor, he provides a sense of continuity and knows how things were done under Beilein.
Most of all, Washington already has a relationship built with all the returning players and is a familiar face for the recruits Michigan was pursuing under Beilein.
"I'm extremely proud of the work I've been a part of here at Michigan, but I am also very grateful to Coach Howard for retaining me to continue," said Washington. "There's a great and new energy around the program right now. I'm excited to get behind his vision for the program and assisting our players to be championship seekers on and off the court."
Like Howard, Eisley is bringing no shortage of NBA knowledge to Michigan. Eisley, 46, played at the highest level for 12 years and worked as an assistant coach in the pros since 2010, which included stints with the L.A. Clippers, Wizards and Knicks.
A Detroit native, Eisely was teammates with former Fab Five member Jalen Rose at Detroit Southwestern High and should be able to help recruit the city’s top talent.
"I want to thank Juwan and everyone at Michigan for having the confidence in me to make me part of this talented staff," said Eisley. "I am ready to hit the ground running and look forward to doing everything I can to help our program succeed at the highest levels."
Howard will continue to add members of his support staff in the coming weeks.