LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) - For the first time since 1998, Niagara has to find a new men's basketball coach.
Long-time coach Joe Mihalich officially took over the program at Hofstra this afternoon, ending a 15-year run of success with the Purple Eagles.
Mihalich twice led Niagara to the NCAA Tournament. He leaves with a MAAC-record 265 career wins. With that kind of resume', NU's athletic director Tom Crowley was not shocked to see Mihalich leave.
"I guess probably I'm more surprised Joe was here as long as he was," said Crowley. "If you look at the MAAC, there's not many of those guys that are around very long that have that kind of success."
A national search for Mihalich's replacement is already underway. Crowley says he has received a "ton" of interest, partially because of the talented roster the Purple Eagles will return for next season.
"I think the fact that the job was open was going to create this same frenzy, even if we were at the bottom of the league," said Crowley. "We're at the top."
With star sophomores Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason leading a talented group of underclassmen returning from the regular-season MAAC champions, whoever inherits the head coaching job will be able to hit the ground running.
Crowley says he expects to move quickly to go after Mihalich's replacement.
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