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New Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway excited to be leading a MAAC program

Shaheen Holloway felt his time at Seton Hall prepared him for the opportunity to become the new men’s basketball head coach at Saint Peter’s University.

A four-year star point guard for the Pirates from 1996 until 2000, Holloway is the Pirates all-time assist leader with 681, sits 17th in scoring with 1,588 points, fourth in steals with 231, and eighth all-time knocking down 185 three-pointers. He was named the BIG EAST Most Improved Player in 2000 and All-Big East and All-Metropolitan in three of his four seasons.

For the past eight seasons, Holloway served as the associate head coach for Seton Hall on head coach Kevin Willard’s staff. The Pirates won the 2015-16 BIG EAST Tournament Title and tallied three straight 20 win seasons from 2016-18, something that had not been accomplished since 1991-93.

In addition, for the first time in program history, three consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more in the BIG EAST regular season. Holloway also was on Willard’s staff at Iona, helping to turn around a Gales program that went 2-28 in 2006-07 to a team that won 21 games in 2009-10.

“Coach Willard did an unbelievable job of coaching that team (Iona),”said Holloway. “We were young, had a couple of seniors, good transfers and mixed in those guys with freshman and it became a great season for us.”

“It means a lot to me, when you get in the game of coaching, the goal is to become a head coach,” said Holloway said of his latest opportunity. “I coached at Iona before and the MAAC is a great conference with great coaches. I thought this was an unbelievable opportunity for me, I didn’t have to move my family, support system is here and first job with someone I know and trust in the athletic director, Bryan Felt whose vision I believe in and makes sense.”

“Seton Hall is my family and had so much success and what we accomplished together and still more to be done,” Holloway continued. “I’m going to build a great team at Saint Peter’s and what I preach is never talking about my days at Seton Hall. I want it to be about the them (the players) but these kids have access to the internet and YouTube. Anything good to be building from the ground up, if you take short cuts, it’s never going to work out for you. In the summer your record is undefeated and opportunity for me to go out and show these guys to follow behind me.”

“I had a great time at Seton Hall and they were good to me as I had the opportunity to stay home and play in front of my friends and support system. Great playing on teams’ with great players. Being part of something fantastic, had a great ride and didn’t care about the individual stats but team accomplishments and went to the Sweet 16. That was a special team and had a chance to go to the Final Four but I got hurt and didn’t play in the Sweet 16 game. A good year that meant something to us because there was fire at the dorm rooms and we were playing for the university and community. Lots of ups and downs but well worth it.”

“I’m still getting to know my team,” explained Holloway. “Started in April and time to go out in the recruiting trail. We are going to compete, play hard and the right way. Looking forward to getting to know the guys. Good thing about the conference is every team has a great coach. Obviously Iona has been very successful for a long time, last year Canisius had a great year and Manhattan has had a great run the last couple of years and last year Rider won the regular season title.”

Back in April, Saint Peter’s University scheduled a media event to introduce Holloway as the Peacocks new men’s basketball head coach, but tragedy struck as Holloway’s uncle passed away.

“A very bittersweet time because I dreamt of becoming a head coach,” said Holloway. “My uncle meant a lot to me and helped me become the man I’m today. A tough day for me, whirlwind with so many different emotions because I was excited for this opportunity but on the other hand sad for my family because we lost the head of our family. I know he wanted me to have this press conference. Honored so many people came out, family and friends and great day for me.”

While busy assembling his coaching staff, Holloway found a familiar person in former standout Seton Hall Pirate player John Morton.

“When it came down to hiring my staff, I had few people in mind and anybody who knows John, a no-brainer,” said Holloway. “I have known him for a long time and trust him. He is great with kids and parents and his background speaks for itself, his pedigree, a home run hire for me. When parents send their kids to a school, you want John Morton mentoring them because everything he does is positivity and great energy around it.”

Where Holloway has flourished the most is recruiting and developing players on and off the court. While at Seton Hall, the Pirates had three Associated Press All-America honorable mentions, 12 All-Big East selections, three Big East All-Rookies and 36 Big East All-Academic team selections. As the lead recruiter, Seton Hall was in the Top 15 national recruiting class of 2014 that featured Isaiah Whitehead (program’s first McDonald’s All-American since 2001), Angel Delgado (BIG EAST all-time rebounds leader) and Khadeen Carrington (ninth all-time leading scorer in program history).

Holloway credits Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez, during the 2006-07 season working as the administrative assistant. “I have been blessed to work around good people, like a sponge, soak up things every quickly. Coach Gonzalez gave me a lot of leeway in learning how to do film, scouting, academics and learned from the ground up.”

“18 to 21 or 22 most important years and parents’ are sending their kids to play for me, I have to make sure these kids are growing up as men just not as basketball players as well. Being a student is the most important thing to me, what we did at Seton Hall having so many accomplishments making the all-academic team. I just don’t want to have kids that are good people from winning programs but good schools and try their hardest on and off the court. We had six straight years at Seton Hall over a 3.1 or 3.2 GPA and very proud of that.”

“The challenges of recruiting, I’m always aiming for high and getting BIG East or A-10 (Atlantic 10) talent. You just have to stay the course, not get too high or low and took some time to get it going at Seton Hall. You have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run, everything is a process.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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