Mr. Joseph has been on the GW staff for five seasons.
Maurice Joseph, who has been an assistant men’s basketball coach at the George Washington University for five seasons, has been named interim head coach of the team, the university announced Tuesday.
Mr. Joseph, who played collegiately at Michigan State under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo before transferring to Vermont where he served as a two-year captain, has been on the GW staff during a time that the program advanced to one NCAA Tournament and two NIT berths, including the 2016 NIT Championship.
“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” Mr. Joseph said.
“It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role. I have the utmost confidence that I will validate the trust that Provost [Forrest] Maltzman and [Director of Athletics and Recreation] Patrick Nero have placed in me, and that we will deliver a product that makes our students, alumni and fans across the globe proud of GW Basketball and the university."
Mr. Nero said that Mr. Joseph "has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university.”
"His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year,” Mr. Nero said. “Our team, basketball staff and athletic department are looking forward to working together for a successful season."
Dr. Maltzman said that Mr. Joseph emerged as the right individual for this interim position.
“He’s a strong teacher, and he has the full support of the university,” Dr. Maltzman said. “MoJo will be an excellent mentor for the young men he will lead with his understanding of the ideals of what a student-athlete should be, and he will prioritize a united locker room to achieve the program’s common goals.”
An elite shooter in his playing days, Mr. Joseph has played a key role in the development of GW's perimeter players, notably Olympian and current NBA player Patricio Garino, who earned All-Atlantic 10 honors in 2015-16 after averaging career bests in scoring (14.1 ppg) and three-point shooting (.430), leading the league in the latter category during the regular season.
Mr. Izzo, his former coach at Michigan State, said he was excited and proud to hear of Mr. Joseph’s interim appointment to lead the GW program.
“He entered Michigan State as an intelligent player with great people skills and would quickly develop the discipline and toughness that will serve him well in his new role,” Mr. Izzo said.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that he is incredibly well suited to lead the Colonials. I’ve loved watching him grow as a coach, and I know his journey has positioned him for success.
“He understands how to tackle the adversity that comes with the coaching profession. Perhaps most importantly, he is great at building and maintaining relationships with players, administration, alumni and media. That’s why I’m looking forward to watching the next step in his bright young coaching career.”
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Mr. Joseph began his collegiate playing career at Michigan State in 2005 where he helped the Spartans make two NCAA Tournament appearances. He transferred to the University of Vermont in 2007 and led the Catamounts to 24 wins in 2009 and 25 wins in 2010, including an America East Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
That season, Mr. Joseph was the team's second-leading scorer (13.9 ppg) while shooting a career-best .374 (77-206) from three-point range. He also ranked second in the America East in free throw percentage (.848) in 2009-10. Mr. Joseph also had a decorated prep career at Champlain-St. Lambert in Montreal, where as a senior in 2005, he was named Canada's National Player of the Year.
The older brother of former Syracuse standout and 2012 NBA draftee Kris Joseph, Mr. Joseph played professionally in Israel with Hapoel Afula, before dedicating himself to the coaching profession. Upon his arrival at GW, where he met his wife, Kristen, Mr. Joseph enrolled and earned a master’s degree in Education and Human Development.
The Josephs reside in Arlington, Va.