‘Head Hawk’ lands at Cabrini

By Christine Blom
September 23, 2005


Phil Martelli, head coach of the men’s basketball team at St. Joseph’s University, questioned the audience.

“Do you have a dream? Do you have an ego? Do you listen? Do you act alone? Do you organize, plan and get excited?” Martelli said. “If you answered yes to any of these questions you most likely would make a great leader.”

Martelli engrossed many Cabrini student-athletes and faculty members as a part of the Leader Lecture Series on Monday, Sept. 19.

Martelli, a graduate of Widener University, has coached all over the Delaware Valley, everywhere from Cardinal O’Hara to Bishop Kenrick. He has been coaching at St. Joe’s for 20 years; his first ten years, he was an assistant, and his final ten years as head coach.

“I even coached here at Cabrini, many years ago,” Martelli said. “When Kathy Rush used to hold her basketball camps here at Cabrini. The campus is definitely much bigger now.”

Martelli was comissioned by Dr. Dennis Dougherty for the Leader Lecture Series as the kick- off speaker.

Martelli explained how fortunate he is and how thankful he is for his job.

“All coaches are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs,” Martelli said. “Coaching is overrated. The only difference between that and a real job is that we’re the first ones fired.”

Two of Martelli’s philosophies are education and respect. He talked about how there is only one team rule and how important it truly is.

“Respect. Respect is the only rule. Respect your name, respect the game, and respect your teammates,” Martelli said. “Being on time is a part of that. Now, as far as I am concerned, has the right to anyone’s money. Therefore, you don’t have the right to anyone else’s time.”

According to Martelli, there are several characteristics a leader must possess. He explained that every leader should be willing to listen, have a dream, be willing to act alone, and be a person who gets involved and gets excited.

After many of sport’s greats, such as Joe Nameth and Vince Lombardi, Martelli spoke fluently and eloquently about what it takes to be a leader and some of the greatest leaders he has ever had the privilege of coaching at St. Joe’s.

“Jameer Nelson and Dalante West were two of the greatest leaders, two years ago, because they were energizers,” Martelli said. “If I drove past the field house at 1:15 a.m. and I saw the light on, I knew it was them. I knew it was them because they were the kids who were willing to be alone in the gym when everyone else was out partying. That’s what made them good leaders.”

Martelli closed by talking about an inspirational quote he has sitting in his office since he first started coaching.

“‘Success of the group assures that success of the individual,'” Martelli said. “The only thing is that it can’t work the other way around.”

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Christine Blom

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