HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Speedy Claxton is taking over as basketball coach at Hofstra, where he starred as a point guard in the late 1990s and has served as an assistant for the past seven years.
Claxton was introduced Thursday by the Long Island-based Colonial Athletic Association school at its on-campus basketball arena, which opened during Claxton's senior season.
"This was my dream job," said the 42-year-old Claxton, who pushed through tears and acknowledged fighting nerves during his introductory news conference. “They say it’s the arena that Speedy built.”
Claxton replaces Joe Mihalich, who missed this past season after taking a medical leave of absence and then transitioned into an advisory role with the school last month. Mihalich, 64, was 141-92 in seven seasons with Hofstra.
Associate head coach Mike Farrelly was acting head coach after Mihalich went on leave and guided the Pride to a 13-10 record.
“Speedy’s a humble man,” Hofstra athletic director Rick Cole Jr. said. “We’re really excited about what the future will bring with Speedy at the helm.
“When you watch his interaction with his student-athletes, they respect him incredibly. They trust him. They believe in him. They feel that they can learn from him.”
A Hempstead native, Claxton became one of Hofstra's greatest and most popular players. He led the team to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2000, scored more than 2,000 career points and left as the program’s leader in assists and steals.
He was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000, but a knee injury cost him his rookie season. He played seven seasons in the NBA for five teams.
Claxton spent three seasons as a scout with the Golden State Warriors before returning to Hofstra in 2013 as a special assistant to Mihalich. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2014.
“My basketball journey has taken me all over the the world, and it was always the goal to come back one day and lead this program,” Claxton said. “I can tell you this: I wore a lot of names on the front of my jersey. The one that was always near and dear to my heart was Hofstra.”