Head Basketball Coach
Coach Joe Niland has been head men’s basketball coach at the University Mobile for 13 seasons. Not a stranger to success, Niland has posted 10 20-win seasons and recorded his first 30-win season during the 2004-05 season when he guided the Mobile Rams to a 30-6 record. He guided the Rams to back-to-back Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
Niland’s teams have posted a 260-159 record overall and a 136-82 mark in conference play. His 1999-2000 squad went 24-10, earning a trip to the NAIA National Tournament. In all, Niland has guided the Rams to five NAIA National Tournament appearances in 13 seasons, two Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championships, and back-to-back Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular season co-championships in 2003-04 and 2004-05. His 2001-02 team posted the program’s first win versus a NCAA Div. I opponent, when the Rams upset defending SWAC Champion Alabama State 65-61, and in 2009-10 the Rams beat Louisiana-Lafayette 68-64. Niland also serves as the Athletic Director at the University of Mobile, overseeing 13 athletics programs that constantly rate at the top of the NAIA.
Before his time at UMobile, Niland led Spring Hill College to the NAIA National Tournament on two separate occasions, both in the 1993-94 season and again during 1998-99 season. During his tenure at Spring Hill, the Badgers compiled a 127-60 (.679) overall record and a 75-29 (.721) mark in the GCAC. Niland’s 127 wins are the most in SHC history.
The Niland family has a history of success in athletics. His father, the late Joe Sr., coached at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY from 1947-54 and was also the Director of College Scouting for the Buffalo Braves of the NBA. Niland’s younger brother, Dave, is head basketball coach at Penn State-Behrend College in Erie, PA and his late uncle, Tom Niland, coached at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY from 1947-1972 and served as the school’s athletic director for 45 years, retiring in 1992. Also, Michigan’s head basketball coach, John Beilein, who took the University of West Virginia to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in 2004-05, is Niland’s first cousin.
Prior to coming to Mobile and taking his first head coaching job at Spring Hill College, Niland spent three seasons as an assistant at Florida Southern College where the Mocs posted a 73-20 overall record, winning two Sunshine State Conference titles and earning two NCAA Division II National Tournament berths.
From 1988-90, Niland served as an assistant at the University of Tampa. The Spartans also won two Sunshine State Conference titles while twice appearing in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The 1988-89 Tampa team finished ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season poll.
In addition to his coaching duties, Niland also served as the dean of students at Spring Hill College from 1995 to 1997. As dean of students, Niland was responsible for the division of Student Life which oversaw the departments of Residence Life, Athletics, Health Services, Student Activities, Greek Life and Intramurals. Niland also served on the President’s Cabinet.
Niland lends his coaching expertise outside of Pharr Gymnasium as he is active in the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) working with the youth teams at his church, St. Dominic’s. He also coaches various AAU and youth teams. In the summer of 2008, Niland was selected as a court coach for the 2008 USA Men’s U18 National Team Trials.
Niland lives in west Mobile with his wife, Ellen, and their four children: A.J., Katelin, Jake, and Patrick.