When presented with a need to hire an assistant coach quickly before the July recruiting period suddenly presented itself, Marquette head men’s basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski made the easiest, quickest, and most obvious choice available to him.
On Tuesday, Marquette announced that Jake Presutti was promoted from his position as Director of Basketball Operations & Video Coordinator to full fledged assistant coach. The assistant spot was available due to associate head coach Brett Nelson leaving for the Holy Cross head coaching job last week. Wojciechowski then immediately filled Presutti’s old job of Director of Basketball Operations by promoting Dan Madhavapallil from his job as assistant video coordinator.
Here’s the fact of the matter: Marquette needs four coaches — Wojciechowski and three assistants — on the recruiting trail when the live period kicks into gear on Thursday, July 11th. Yes, that’s two days from now and eight days from when Nelson was announced as the Holy Cross coach. The Golden Eagles currently have a grand total of zero committed recruits for the Class of 2020, and it looks like they’re going to have five scholarships available by the time August 2020 rolls around.
That’s a problem!
The only way that Marquette is going to be able to lock up the recruits they need by the fall signing period in November is to get full coverage of the recruit evaluation events over the rest of the month of July. The only way that they can get the full coverage they need is to have four full-time coaches available. With Nelson out of the picture, that got a lot harder to do. Making things even more complicated is the fact that it’s kind of hard to just uncover someone in early July who’s ready to uproot their entire life from where they thought they were going to be for the 2019-20 year and get them both moving to Milwaukee and out on the road recruiting for the Golden Eagles.
It’s a lot to ask from anyone, no matter how willing they are to do it.
But, the option of merely promoting Presutti to full-fledged assistant checks a lot of boxes for Wojciechowski. He’s familiar with what Marquette is looking for in a recruit, he’s been at all of the meetings about what recruits Marquette is focused on, and he’s already living in Milwaukee. Given the time crunch involved, I don’t think that Marquette was going to be able to get anyone better than Presutti, and that’s not a dig on him. Is it possible that Wojciechowski could have gotten the next Luke Yaklich — or hell, even Luke Yaklich, given his move from Michigan to Texas — if Nelson’s change had come during the traditional coaching carousel cycle? Sure! But whatever MU is sacrificing in possible coaching experience or acumen in someone else is made up through Presutti’s existing relationships with the players currently on the roster as well as the staff at the McGuire Center. It should be a relatively seamless transition for the Golden Eagles in an offseason filled with transitions that maybe aren’t quite as seamless.
Presutti is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse, moving his way up from a walk-on for Jim Boeheim to eventually earning a scholarship spot on the team. He was part of Wojciechowski’s original staff in 2014-15 and has been at Marquette ever since, serving as Video Coordinator originally before adding the DOBO title to his business card in 2017. His career before arriving in Milwaukee included stints with Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, the Houston Rockets, and USA Basketball. Each stop gave him a different title, but his duties always revolved around video review and scouting, whether it was internal or external.
Madhavapallil has been with the men’s basketball program for seven seasons, dating back to when Buzz Williams brought him in as a student manager. Wojciechowski kept him on board as a manager, eventually moving him up the chain to program assistant and assistant video coordinator before his new assignment. He earned his degree from MU back in 2016.