Hofstra promotes Welsh's assistant to head job

May 5, 2010 - 9:41 PM HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.(AP) -- Mo Cassara moved from first-year assistant to first-time Division I head coach to cap Hofstra's hectic week.

Cassara was promoted Wednesday to succeed Tim Welsh, who resigned from the head coaching job on Monday, two days after he was arrested on a DWI charge.

An assistant coach at Boston College the last four years and the head coach at Division III Clark for two seasons, Cassara had been at Hofstra even less than the monthlong tenure of Welsh, who succeeded Tom Pecora after he took over the program at Fordham.

"This is really an unbelievable opportunity that presented itself out of some really difficult circumstances, and now we're moving forward," Cassara said Wednesday.

Welsh, a former coach at Iona and Providence and an analyst at ESPN the last two years, never worked a game at Hofstra after signing a five-year contract for $3 million.

Cassara signed a multiyear contract, according to Hofstra, although no other details were given.

"We have had the opportunity to see Mo's dynamic leadership, energy and enthusiasm in action," Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said in a statement. "His experience with college basketball, his passion for the game, and his desire to work with student-athletes in all facets of their development will serve our basketball team well and help take our program to the next level of excellence."

Although Hofstra has Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year Charles Jenkins returning, some of the players have indicated they might transfer out of the program that went 155-126 in nine seasons under Pecora and made three straight NIT appearances.

"I've been able to spend a lot of time with Charles since I got here. In fact, I've been living in a dorm room, so I've been in the office so much I barely go home," Cassara said.

"I've gotten to spend a lot of time around the players off the court and I have really had a chance to watch a lot of film of last year's team. Coach Pecora did a tremendous job of putting this team together and now we have to add some stability and calm to it."

Cassara said he will keep the staff that Welsh put together - assistants Steve DeMeo and Allen Griffin - and will add one coach to replace himself.

"I think we've already been working hard as a staff in the weeks we've been here, building relationships with the kids," he said. "When there's turmoil and change kids get antsy. Once we add some stability and confidence, we're going to be fine."

Cassara, a graduate of St. Lawrence, also worked as an assistant at Washington & Lee, The Citadel and Dayton.

The 49-year-old Welsh was arrested the morning of April 30. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and his next appearance in district court was adjourned to June 1.

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