A few of Joe's recent honors include Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 13 Coach of the Year in 2003-2004. In that same year, he also finished fourth in the AP balloting for National Coach of the Year. Last spring, he was inducted into the Toms River Schools Sports Hall of Fame.
A Pelican-Island native, Joe was a three-sport (football, basketball, baseball) standout at Toms River High School East. In basketball, he scored a school record of 1,550 points and was named first-team All Shore and third-team All State. In football, he played quarterback and safety and was also named first team All Shore. He played shortstop in baseball and was named All County. He was also team captain in all three sports his senior year.
Joe was no slouch in academics either. Attending Princeton University as a freshman in 1983-1984, he played on an Ivy-League championship team that reached the NCAA tournament. While an undergraduate, Joe was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter for Princeton at point guard and won the B.F. Bunn Trophy as the Team's Most Valuable Player. He was team captain as a senior and earned All-Ivy honors in 1987.
After graduating from Princeton in 1987, Joe studied law at the University of Notre Dame and earned his J.D. degree in 1990. While at Notre Dame, his team twice won the famous Bookstore Basketball championship, and he was awarded MVP both years. Before accepting an assistant coaching position at Monmouth University in 1991- 1992, he worked at Ribis, Graham & Curtin, a law firm in Morristown. Then in 1992, Joe returned to Princeton as an assistant coach to Hall of Fame head coach Pete Carril. He later became Coach Bill Carmody's top assistant for four years from 1996-2000. He helped recruit two All Americans, three Ivy League Players of the Year, one Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and nine first-team Ivy selections.
From 2000-2004, Joe was the Head Coach of the U. S. Air Force Academy. In 2003-2004, he led the team to the best season in school history: a 22-7 record, the school's first conference championship and an NCAA Tournament bid. Last April, he was named the Head Basketball Coach of Princeton University, his alma mater. Upon Joe's appointment, Director of Athletics Gary Walters said, "Very few schools have the opportunity to appoint as their head coach an alumnus of the university who has been recognized as one of the five top coaches in the country this past season."
Married to the former Leah Spraragen, Joe has two sons, Ben and Jack, ages 3 and I. His community service includes running youth basketball camps and giving numerous clinics to all age groups.
The Board requires a twenty-year time period between a nominee's graduation and possible induction into the Hall of Fame. With High School East marking its twenty-fifth anniversary just last year, only students from the earliest graduating classes have recently become eligible for induction. Joe is now the first student from High School East to become an honoree. He remembers us for a great education, very good coaches, very good teamwork, and great teachers. We are proud to recognize him as an outstanding leader and coach. We are proud to welcome him into the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame.
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