La Salle grad chosen for The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s ‘Most Courageous Sportsperson’ award

Joe Mihalich, a 1974 graduate of La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, was chosen as The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association‘s “Most Courageous Sportsperson” Award winner for 2024. 

An article about the honor describes Mihalich’s experiences with a life-altering stroke in 2020 at his Long Island home. He had accumulated more than 400 career wins as a Division I men’s basketball head coach at Hofstra University over the previous seven seasons, including a CAA Tournament win earlier that year.

He underwent immediate surgery “with no guaranteed outcome” and subsequent clots, infections, and fevers followed by six weeks of recovery rehabilitation. He lost his speech, among other faculties.

Since then, he’s climbed back into health through physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

“It was so overwhelming,” his wife, Mary Mihalich, said. “It’s a miracle. I don’t know what the percentage is, but it’s not real good of surviving. And they said that to me.”

In April 2022, La Salle University men’s basketball head coach Fran Dunphy asked Mihalich to return to his alma mater as a special assistant coach. He and Mary moved to Chestnut Hill.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Mihalich back to La Salle,” Dunphy said. “I have known Joe for a long time, worked with him for three years on the coaching staff at La Salle under Lefty Ervin and Speedy Morris, and know what a high-quality coach and man he is. His vast experience and knowledge will benefit myself, our student-athletes, and the rest of our coaching staff tremendously.”

He received the honor at the 119th PSWA Banquet on January 17. For the full story, you can click here.

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Photos: La Salle University