A familiar face has been tapped to run the Hofstra University men’s basketball program.
Speedy Claxton, who starred at Hofstra in the late 1990s, has been named as the Pride's 13th head coach after serving eight years as an assistant under former head coach Joe Mihalich.
Mihalich missed all of last season due to unspecified health reasons and is transitioning to a new role as a special adviser under Hofstra Athletic Director Rick Cole Jr.
During his playing career - which culminated with his number 10 jersey being retired in 2009 by Hofstra - Claxton guided the Pride to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in decades. As an assistant coach, he helped lead the team to the top of the conference, as well as a spot in the Tournament.
Now, Claxton will see what he can do as the team’s top dog running the show.
“Today is a dream come true for me,” Claxton said following the announcement of his hiring on Wednesday, April 7. “With that dream comes responsibility, I know the incredible history of the Hofstra men's basketball program. I have lived it. I have experienced it. I have coached it. And today I am ready to lead it.
Claxton, who has been with the program for eight years, takes over a team that has won 144 games over the past seven seasons and averages more than 20 wins per season. The Pride also set a record with 27 victories in the 2018-19 season, when it earned its first outright season conference in nearly 20 years.
“Everything about Hofstra and our men's basketball program is special to me and I look forward to continuing the success this program experiences year in and year out,” Claxton added.
In the 2019-2020 season, Hofstra collected 26 wins, their second straight Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title, winning the CAA championship to earn the Pride’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2001.
That season, with the help of Claxton on the bench, Hofstra became the second team in CAA history - and first since the early 1980s - to win back-to-back outright conference regular-season titles.
“What an exciting day for Hofstra University and our men's basketball program," Cole said. "There is no better person than Speedy Claxton to lead our team and build upon the outstanding successes this program has experienced during its rich history.
“Speedy's relationship with Hofstra goes back many years, and he is ready to take the next step and become our head coach,” Cole added. “It has been an amazing career and life for Speedy and the entire Hofstra community looks forward to following this next step in his journey.”
During his playing career with the Pride, Claxton was a two-time Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American. When he graduated in 2000, he was one of only six players in school history to score 2,000 career points (2,015). He also graduated as the program's all-time leader in both assists (660) and steals (288), and was a two-time Player of the Year selection in the America East Conference (1998, 2000).
"As a student-athlete, Speedy Claxton thrilled a generation of Hofstra and New York basketball fans," Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz said. "He's a seminal figure in Pride basketball history and a Hempstead icon."
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