After a few weeks of rumors that it might happen, Penn men's basketball coach Mike Martin has been hired by Brown University as the program's new head coach.
Current Penn assistant Dan Leibovitz posted a farewell message to Martin on Twitter Thursday afternoon:
Congrats to Mike Martin, new head coach at Brown. Extremely competent, intelligent, driven person. Very astute hire ... well deserved.
Penn head coach Jerome Allen offered this statement through the school's athletic department later Thursday:
I am extremely happy for Mike and his family; his hiring is a well-deserved. Mike has done the University of Pennsylvania a great service for the last six years, and it is only right that he get the opportunity to run his own program.
As I have learned the last three years, it is a special opportunity to oversee a program that you once played in, and I know that Mike will embrace that opportunity at Brown. With the exception of two times each season, I wish Mike nothing but the best of success.
Although Martin has been at Penn for a few years now, the move isn't all that surprising. He played at Brown from 2000 to 2004, and still has plenty of connections in New England.
Martin joined then-Bears coach Glen Miller's coaching staff in 2005, after he graduated, and moved to Philadelphia when Miller succeeded Fran Dunphy at Penn in 2006.
When Miller was fired in December 2009, Martin stayed on the Penn coaching staff, having taken a liking to Philadelphia and the Quakers.
Now Martin is returning to his alma mater, where he will succeed Jesse Agel. A charismatic (to put it one way) former assistant to legendary Vermont coach Tom Brennan, Agel was in charge at the Pizzitola Center from 2008 through this past season.
In that time, Agel compiled a 39-79 record, including a 14-42 record in the Ivy League. The Bears finished an unsightly 2-12 in conference play this past season, and never achieved anything better than fifth place in the standings in Agel's tenure.
Brown will officially introduce Martin with a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday.
As for who replaces Martin at Penn, I don't want to speculate too much yet since I've been out of the loop basketball-wise for the last few weeks.
I do know, though, that Martin's slot isn't the only one Penn has to fill. Fellow assistant Rudy Wise, who had spent the last two in an unpaid volunteer position, left the Quakers without much fanfare a few weeks ago.
That leaves Leibovitz as the only assistant currently on the staff.
If I had to pick one name completely at random to fill the open slot, I'd probably go with former Penn guard Michael Jordan. I know nothing - I haven't even asked him, honestly - but given his close ties to the program, it wouldn't surprise me if Jordan puts his hat in the ring.