May 16, 2017
RICHMOND, Va. – New VCU Men's Basketball Coach Mike Rhoades has completed his staff for the 2017-18 season, he announced Tuesday.
Rhoades, who was named head coach in March, will be assisted by Jeremy Ballard, J.D. Byers and Brent Scott. Ballard will serve as associate head coach. Jimmy Martelli has been hired as director of operations. In addition, Joey Rodriguez (director of player development), Mike Venezia (director of student-athlete development), Justin Levine (video coordinator) and Don Brown (director of sports performance) will round out the staff.
Like Rhoades, who served as both an assistant coach and associate head coach under Shaka Smart for the Rams for five seasons from 2009-14, several new staffers have VCU ties. Others, meanwhile, helped Rhoades engineer a rapid turnaround at Rice.
Ballard returns to VCU, where we served as an assistant coach from 2012-15, following a two-year hiatus. Last season, he worked as an assistant at Pittsburgh under Kevin Stallings. Ballard has also worked at Illinois State, Tulsa and Colgate, his alma mater, during a 13-year coaching career.
Byers and Scott served as assistants on Rhoades staff at Rice, where they helped reverse the Owls' fortunes. Last season, Rice won 23 games, the second-most in program history.
Byers, who has also worked at Radford and St. Francis (Pa.), spent three seasons as an assistant at Randolph-Macon, including two under Rhoades.
Scott, who played for the Indiana Pacers during the 1996-97 season, enjoyed a 14-year professional career in the US and Europe before launching a coaching career that has included two stints at Rice, as well as time at LSU and TCU.
The son of longtime Saint Joseph's Head Coach Phil Martelli, Jimmy Martelli logged eight years on the sidelines as a college assistant coach, including the 2006-07 season at Randolph-Macon under current VCU Head Coach Mike Rhoades.
One of the heroes of VCU's 2011 Final Four squad, Rodriguez returns to the black and gold in 2017. A four-year starter at point guard for the Rams from 2007-11, Rodriguez spent the 2016-17 campaign as Rice's video coordinator and has also coached at Central Florida, as well as Benedictine (Va.) and Lake Howell (Fla.) High Schools.
Venezia and Levine have both worked their way up from VCU graduate assistants. Venezia, who played four years at Colgate, served as a graduate assistant at VCU during the 2014-15 season before assuming a similar position at Texas. Levine has served as a graduate assistant on the Rams' bench for the past two years. He recently received his masters from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership.
Brown will take over VCU's strength and conditioning programs. He served in the same position for Rhoades at Rice and was a graduate assistant for VCU in 2014-15. He has also worked at East Tennessee State.