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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Phil Martelli is breaking his silence. He wants his side of the story known. Martelli was fired Tuesday by St. Joe’s after 24 seasons.
He preached communication and respect to his players. Now the former head coach says he has zero arrows of hatred for the university. In a Monday meeting where he was fired, the university may not have reciprocated those values.
“I don’t have hate in my heart to wonder if I got sucker-punched,” Martelli said. “Maybe I should have ducked. … It still hurts. It’s still raw. It’s still painful.”
“The Martelli family is not done and will not be tattooed by what has taken place this week,” he added.
Martelli vows to coach again, even as his 34-year tenure at St. Joe’s ended this week.
Seven NCAA Tournament appearances in 24 seasons at the helm of Hawk Hill, including a 2004 trip to the Elite Eight, are the highlights of Martelli’s résumé.
But three straight years without a winning record prompted a meeting between Martelli and St. Joe’s president Mark Reed and athletic director Jill Bodensteiner.
Martelli was expecting a yearly performance review when he received a text message to meet with Reed and Bodensteiner.
Instead, he was offered the opportunity to resign.
“That was probably the quickest segment in the meeting,” Martelli said. “They said to me, ‘You can resign.’ And I immediately said that I would not.”
Martelli said that he didn’t storm out of the room when Reed and Bodensteiner told him he wasn’t being fired. He described it as being hit with a ton of bricks, knocking the wind out of him.
Despite all of this, Martelli said he knows what he’s selling at this point.
A 64-year-old basketball coach that has recently been fired.
Still, he plans on being back on a basketball sideline soon.