Phil Martelli has, suffice it to say, been around the block. He’s spent 24 years as a head coach at St. Joseph’s and 11 more as a Division I assistant. Personally, Michigan is the first school he’s had to acclimate to in 35 years.
But all those years have brought coaches cycling in and out of Martelli’s life. He’s coached against Rollie Massimino and Jay Wright, against Pete Carril and Mark Few. He has former assistants scattered around the northeast, from Maryland to Hartford.
He knows, by proxy, the process a coach undergoes when he takes a new job. And he knows that Year Two is normally when coaches find their “bounce.”
“In normal times … there would just be a certain comfort level,” Martelli said Wednesday.
Of course, this year is anything but normal. Juwan Howard is a week away from his second season as Michigan’s head coach and he still doesn’t have a schedule. Among his concerns are making sure his players avoid contracting COVID-19 and communicating protocol with parents. Martelli’s experience can’t prepare him for challenges nobody’s ever had to face.