Tonawanda News


April 11, 2013

Mihalich looks back emotionally on NU years


Tonawanda News — As he continued to talk about his new job at Hofstra, Mihalich’s mood changed.

“As sad as I am to leave Niagara, I’m just as excited to be here,” Mihalich said. “My family and I, walking around here today, we were all giddy.”

In the past, Mihalich turned down jobs because he didn’t want to move his family out of Lewiston.

Now, with his oldest son, Joe Jr., coaching in Scranton, Pa., and his other two sons, twins Matt and Tony, coaching in the Washington, D.C. area, Mihalich and his wife, Mary, no longer felt rooted in Western New York.

And with a higher salary, more resources, better facilities, a bigger market and a new challenge awaiting him at Hofstra, Mihalich decided the timing was right to make a move.

Jack Armstrong, the coach Mihalich replaced 15 year ago, shared the bittersweet feeling with the successor he grew close with over the years.

“I am thrilled for Joe and sad for Niagara,” Armstrong said. “I spent 10 years at Niagara as a coach. It’s a wonderful place but it’s a place that, in today’s day and age, it’s tough to have sustained success. When you reflect on the 15-year run Joe had at one place, it’s almost unheard of today, particularly at a mid-major school. It was a remarkable run.

“I’m sad for Niagara because they are losing a guy who was a wonderful representative of what Niagara was about. He did it the right way. There was no scandal. No cheating. That is the thing to be celebrated. More so than the won loss record, its the totality, the perspective, of the entire thing he did. When the good guys get ahead, you stand up and applaud.”

Contact Jonah at or follow him on Twitter at @lebronstein

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