DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy alumnus Joe Esposito has more than 28 years of collegiate basketball coaching experience, including more than 10 years working under legendary coach Tubby Smith. Now, he’s accepted a coaching position at one of the nation’s top basketball schools.
Esposito was recently hired as a special assistant to University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) head men’s basketball coach Marvin Menzies. Esposito spent the last 11 seasons working under Smith at Memphis, Texas Tech and Minnesota, where he played a pivotal role in recruiting, player development and scouting.
A native of The Bronx, N.Y., Esposito earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the Academy in 1990. He said former Assumption College basketball coach Jack Renkens – a 1985 Academy master’s degree graduate – inspired him to pursue his Academy education.
“Coach Renkens gave me my first college job and was the one who encouraged me to attend the Academy as well,” Esposito said. “He set the bar so high for me and was responsible for developing my work ethic and groomed me into the coach I am today.
“Coach Renkens loved his experience at the Academy and shared that with me. My time at the Academy was fantastic and I learned so much which helped me advance in my career. I built so many great relationships at the Academy with so many people with whom I still keep in touch. The courses were all relative to the jobs I have had and gave me so much knowledge of what to expect in the world of athletics.
“I just want to say thanks to the United States Sports Academy,” he said. “The networking and curriculum I learned there benefited me in so many ways. If you are serious about working in sports, there is no better school from which to get your degree. I am a proud to say I graduated from the United States Sports Academy.”
With three decades of coaching experience, Esposito has played a pivotal role in some of college basketball’s best recruiting classes. At Memphis, Esposito had a hand in recruiting the top freshman class in the American Athletic Conference for the 2017-18 season. The Tigers averaged 20 wins per season during his two seasons there.
Prior to his work at Memphis, Esposito spent three seasons under Smith at Texas Tech, where he helped the team recruit its best classes in more than a decade. The team reached the 2016 NCAA Tournament. At Minnesota, the Gophers reached the postseason five times.
“I will be wearing many hats at UNLV and hope to help the staff in any way possible with all my years of experience,” Esposito said.
“I have been coaching since 1986 and I still have that same fire and love for helping young men develop in so many ways. I don’t look at myself as just a coach but as an educator. I want to be a help young men develop and be that ‘character coach’ for them. Winning is great and I have been fortunate to be a part of some great teams, but seeing former players have success in life is what it is all about for me.
“Working for Tubby Smith was an honor and privilege,” he said.
“He has made me a better coach, father and husband through the years. Coach Smith is a first class guy who taught me first and foremost to do things the right way. He has had so much success as a coach and taught me that integrity and character are the cornerstones of success with any program. To never cut corners and always follow the rules no matter what. I’m proud of the great years we had together at Minnesota, Texas Tech and Memphis and will continue to do things the way he taught me.”
Prior to his work on Smith’s coaching staffs, Esposito was a head coach for eight seasons at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, and coached at Tennessee State University, Assumption College, Marist College and at the high school level.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.