After just three years at the helm, Manhattan College head coach Steve Masiello has quickly restored the winning tradition to the storied men's basketball program in Riverdale, laying the foundation for the Jaspers' return to prominence.
In March 2014, Manhattan won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship, defeating Iona 71-68 for their 25th win of the season. It was the Jaspers' first MAAC title and the first 25-win campaign since the 2003-2004 season. For his efforts, Masiello earned the prestigious 2014 Metropolitan Coach of the Year, awarded by the Met Writers Association.
Masiello has rejuvenated Manhattan with strong national recruiting while transforming the program into a top contender in the MAAC for years to come.
Long-time ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale has even noted, "Remember this name, Steve Masiello. A young, rising coach doing a great job at Manhattan."
Despite a number of key early-season injuries in 2012-2013, the Jaspers rallied to win eight of their last 11 games down the stretch. Manhattan reached the MAAC Championship game for the first time in nine years, coming up just three points short of reaching the NCAA Tournament in a miraculous run.
After the season, Rhamel Brown was named second team All-MAAC, second team All-Metropolitan and the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year. The accolades continued for the Jaspers as Shane Richards earned MAAC Co-Rookie of the Year honors and RaShawn Stores joined Richards on the All-Rookie Team.
In his first season at Manhattan, the Jaspers enjoyed the biggest turnaround in the nation, posting 21 victories in 2011-2012, a NCAA-best 15-win improvement from the previous season. It went down as the largest turnaround in program history while the 21 wins were the second most wins by a Manhattan first-year head coach, trailing only Jasper Hall of Famer Fran Fraschilla's 23 in 1992-93.
As a result of the Jaspers' marked improvement, Masiello shared Metropolitan Co-Coach of the Year honors with Dan Hurley while leading the Jaspers to their first postseason appearance since 2006. Manhattan advanced to the Second Round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) while registering three All-MAAC selections, including First Team honoree and league scoring champion George Beamon.
The Jaspers have also excelled in the classroom under Masiello. Three players earned both MAAC All-Academic distinction and the prestigious Honors Court recognition by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 2012. It marked the most student-athlete honorees on both award lists out of the 10 MAAC institutions.
Masiello was named Manhattan's 23rd head coach in program history on April 11, 2011. He returned to his native New York after spending six years in the Big East as an assistant at Louisville under head coach Rick Pitino.
Over his six-year tenure with the Cardinals, Masiello helped lead Louisville to a 148-61 (.708) overall record, six straight 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances. The Cardinals advanced to the Elite Eight twice (2008 & 2009) during that time while Masiello played a vital role in building Louisville's 2009 Big East Championship team, which won 31 games, including a program record 16 in conference, and entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.
One of the nation's most renowned recruiters, Masiello effectively directed the Cardinals' recruiting efforts by signing four Top-20 recruiting classes, which included four McDonald's All-Americans over his time in Louisville. The program's 2008 recruiting class garnered a No. 4 national ranking, featuring 2008 USA Today High School National Player of the Year and future NBA player Samardo Samuels.
Masiello was named one of the nation's Top 25 collegiate assistant coaches according to FoxSports.com (2010) & Rivals.com (2007). He managed Louisville's game preparation and scouting responsibilities for his last three years with the program as the Cardinals amassed a 76-29 (.724) overall record, including a 39-15 (.722) mark in the Big East during this stretch.
Masiello is back in Riverdale for his second coaching tenure at Manhattan. He previously helped lead the Jaspers to three postseason appearances in four years (2001-2005) as an assistant, which included two trips to the NCAA Tournament (2003 & 2004) and one to the NIT (2002). Under his tutelage, Manhattan posted an 83-36 (.697) overall record and won the 2003 & 2004 MAAC Championships with Masiello serving a key contributor to the Jaspers' coaching staff.
During that time Masiello also helped Manhattan to arguably one of the finest wins in program history when the Jaspers defeated Florida in the First Round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. In terms of player development, Masiello helped Luis Flores blossom into a NBA Player.
Prior to Manhattan, Masiello served as the administrative assistant at Tulane under head coach Shawn Finney for one year (2000-2001).
A four-year member of the Wildcats' basketball team, Masiello, played under head coaches Rick Pitino (1996-1997) and Tubby Smith (1997-2000). During his playing career, Kentucky went to the Final Four twice (1997 & 1998), advancing to the National Championship game both times and winning the title in 1998. Masiello was named the Wildcats' co-captain his senior year.
Masiello hails from White Plains, N.Y., and attended Archbishop Stepinac High School. He completed his final two years at the Harvey School in Katonah, N.Y., where he helped the basketball program win the New England Prep School Athletic Association Championship. Masiello also served as a ball boy for the New York Knicks during his youth.