SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The Bryant University men’s basketball team officially has a new head coach.
Bryant University President Ross Gittell and Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Bill Smith announced Wednesday that the university has tapped assistant head coach Phil Martelli Jr. to lead the men’s basketball team.
It’s a role he’s already familiar with. Martelli Jr. has been serving as the team’s acting head coach since late September, which is when former head coach Jared Grasso went on a leave of absence.
Martelli Jr. is the ninth head coach in Bryant men’s basketball history. He has spent the past five seasons with the team and served as assistant head coach for the last three.
Throughout his tenure, Martelli Jr. has helped the Bulldogs win 79 games, Northeast Conference regular season and tournament championships and a trip to the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Bryant also produced several pro players with Martelli Jr. on the sidelines, including Hall Elisias, Adham Eleeda, Peter Kiss and Adam Grant.
“[Martelli Jr.] was instrumental in building Bryant basketball into one of the top mid-major programs in the country,” Smith said. “With Phil’s skills, values and commitment, the future of Bryant basketball is in good hands.”
Gittell described Martelli Jr.’s contributions to the university as being “outstanding.”
“He’s shown an unwavering dedication to our players both on the court and in the classroom,” Gittell said. “Knowing Phil’s commitment to excellence, this promises to be a successful season for our student-athletes and the team.”
Martelli Jr. spent 13 seasons as an assistant head coach prior to landing in Smithfield, making stops at Delaware, Niagara, Manhattan and Central Connecticut. He helped both Delaware (2014) and Niagara (2007) reach the NCAA Tournament, winning a combined 150 games between the two teams.
“Bryant prides itself on teaching the importance of character, integrity, and leadership in all we do,” Bryant University Board of Trustees Chair David Beirne said. “I can’t think of anyone better suited than Phil, a proven values-based leader, to write the next chapter in our journey toward the national stage.”
Martelli Jr. is following in his fathers footsteps. Phil Martelli served as the head coach of Saint Joseph’s team from 1995 to 2019 and is currently the interim head coach at the University of Michigan.
His first game as head coach will take place Thursday when Bryant visits Boston University.