Hoop Group Coaching Tree: Hofstra's Mike Farrelly talks to HG Insider about his coaching journey

By Pat Lawless

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Photo by Production Team

Hofstra assistant coach and former Hoop Group Elite Director Mike Farrelly caught up with HG Insider to talk about his journey as a college coach. Farrelly touches on what he enjoys most about his job, gives advice to younger coaches and much more.

Q: You’ve now been a Division 1 coach for close to ten years now. What have you learned to appreciate the most in this profession?

A: “I’m so grateful to be able to do something I love every day. When I was just out of college, I was working as a financial advisor, but I spent most of my time dreaming about being a coach. I remember applying for every college coaching job that opened without knowing how the business really worked. I would have done anything to become a college basketball coach. I was lucky to play for and be mentored by one of the best coaches in the country, Phil Martelli. He helped me get my start in coaching and has been there for me every step of the way. I never let myself forget those long days working in corporate America. Even when I have a bad day and lose a game or a recruit, I can think back to those days and it puts everything in perspective.”

Q: What’s it been like working for Joe Mihalich all these years? What have you learned under him?

A: “I’m really lucky to have worked for Coach Mihalich for this long. He has helped me grow and develop so much. He lets me get involved in all aspects of the program, so when I get an opportunity to become a head coach I know I will be ready because of what Coach has already allowed me to do. One thing in particular that I have learned from Coach is how to build guys up to play confidently. He does that by building trusting relationships with his players and by allowing them more freedom on the offensive end than most coaches allow. Another thing that I have learned from Coach is to always keep pushing, to keep asking questions that can help the team get better. After having some good practices or winning a few games, he has a great way of looking at the bigger picture and not being satisfied with where the team is at.”

Q: You guys had a successful season this past year. What would you attribute this to?

A: “There are the obvious things like a talented roster, avoiding major injuries, buy into what the coaches are saying, etc. But in particular with this group, I thought roles were very well defined and the guys bought into them. Coach Mihalich loves to say ‘know your role, accept your role, and perfect your role.’ Justin Wright-Foreman was our leading scorer and everyone knew that so much of our offense flowed through him. Desure Buie was the point guard who ran the show, kept guys involved and was an extension of the coaching staff. And that goes all the way down the line to our scout team guys. Also, when we were in the middle of our 16 game winning streak, everyone did a great job at focusing on what we needed to do that day to get better and to prepare to win the next game. No one ever got caught up in ‘the streak’ or felt pressure as a result of it.”

Q: What do you think makes Hofstra a special place?

A: “Great people. Our athletic department is full of people that bleed Hofstra blue and gold. Our Director of Athletics, Rick Cole, always says, ‘It’s about the people’ and nothing could be more true.”

Q: For younger coaches trying to get involved in college coaching, what is some advice you would give?

A: “Don’t be a hard worker, be the hardest worker. Go to college practices and soak up everything you can. If you are going to be anything, be loyal. Figure out how you can provide value to people and build relationships off of that. Work for The Hoop Group as much as you can. Figure out how to make things work financially as a young coach – if you keep surviving eventually something good will happen for you.”