Lange happy to be on Hawk Hill

Ed Benkin
April 04, 2019 - 5:13 pm
Bill Lange takes over for Phil Martelli, who was let go after 24 seasons as head coach of St. Joseph's University's basketball team.

Ed Benkin/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Bill Lange was enjoying his life as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, but St. Joseph's University gave Lange an offer he couldn't refuse.

Lange was introduced as the Hawks head coach on Wednesday at Hagan Arena. Lange takes over for Phil Martelli, who was let go after 24 seasons as head coach.

Lange would have been more than happy to be on the bench for the 76ers' upcoming playoff run, but when St. Joe's called, Lange began to think about the opportunity to be the head coach on Hawk hill. 

"I can't say enough about my time there," said Lange. "I miss those guys. You start wrapping your head, though, around what is an epic opportunity. You get a call that says St. Joseph's would like to meet with you and you start thinking about being the head coach at St. Joseph's."

Lange could start his tenure at St. Joseph's shorthanded. Leading scorer Charlie Brown is putting his name in for the NBA draft. Lamarr Kimble and Jared Bynum have entered the transfer portal. Three recruits have decommitted and now have their options open. 

Lange is taking a one step at a time approach as he focuses on the current roster.  

"There's a lot going on," Lange said. "My first priority is just to connect with my current players. They're the most important recruits right now. They need a face. They need an energy. They need a love. I need to just talk to them and be honest with them."

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Lange has a deep basketball background in the Delaware Valley. The Haddon Heights native played at Bishop Eustace High School and Rowan University.

Lange has also served as an assistant at LaSalle University and Villanova University and has a healthy respect for the tradition and history of the Big 5.

"The Big 5 is great," said Lange. "We want to win it. You want to build on that tradition. I've seen firsthand players that have no idea about the Big 5 because they did not grow up in this amazing basketball city. They come from other areas and they don't get it right away. Then they get in that game and it just changes. St. Joseph's vs. whoever becomes a really big game on their schedule. I'm excited to be a part of it."

While college and the NBA are two different types of coaching jobs, Lange believes his time with Brett Brown will greatly benefit him at St. Joseph's. Lang had high praise for Brown and believes the lessons he learned about building a program and working with a staff will be able to carry over to his new position.

"I can go on and on about Brett Brown," Lange said. "He's an amazing basketball mind. He's the most resourceful person I have ever been around and a great studier of the game. More importantly, he showed me how to build a staff and empower them and delegate them."

For now, Lange will look to build that trust with his team, but he had a message for players such as Kimble. 

"I told him yesterday that Ben Simmons trusted me," said Lange. "Maybe you can."