Phil Martelli, Howard Eisley Join Juwan Howard’s Michigan Staff

Juwan Howard is constructing a staff of superior hoops minds in his return to Michigan as head coach.

Juwan Howard’s hiring at Michigan continues a growing trend of players returning to their alma mater to help continue or renew a dormant tradition of winning.

Cyclones legend Fred Hoiberg did a great job at Iowa State from 2010-15. Penny Hardway has returned to Memphis with a No. 1 recruiting class in tow. Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin took a stab at it with varying degrees of success. Mullin’s gone. The original Hoya Destroyer is still at it. 

While he’s yet to coach a college game, Howard’s introductory presser has already surpassed the aforementioned coaches in emotional value.

Now Howard attempts to further one-up those guys by bringing in one of the legendary coaching voices in college basketball as an assistant or associate head coach.  

Phil Martelli, who won 444 games in nearly a quarter century as the coach of Saint Joe’s will bounce from Philly and share his expertise and experience with Howard at Michigan, the long-time coach told CBS Sports on Monday.

The 64-year-old’s contract with Saint Joe’s was terminated on March 19 after a 14-19 season. After his dismissal, Martelli still wanted to continue coaching.

Howard is expected to formally add a third assistant — New York Knicks assistant Howard Eisley — by end of the day Tuesday, according to The Athletic. 

Eisley played 15 seasons in the NBA as an astute backup point guard and he is a true student of the game. The 46-year-old is another rising gem in the African-American coaching carousel

Michigan now has a diverse, three-headed brain trust when it comes to recruiting, game prep and strategy and exploiting the weaknesses of the opposition.

Howard’s college coaching experience pales in comparison to his eight-year grind on NBA benches, but his passion for Michigan, his leadership, basketball prowess and what he’s yet to accomplish will lay the groundwork for a probable return to the NBA as a head coach in a few years.

Howard seems to have a grasp on what he’s trying to accomplish and the kind of coaching staff he wants to surround himself with as he attempts to make Michigan a perennial powerhouse and elite program again.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.