Ex-coach Tommy Amaker ‘so proud’ of Shaheen Holloway’s success

SAN ANTONIO — Tommy Amaker, with much help from Shaheen Holloway, guided Seton Hall to the 2000 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, and the pride and admiration for what the fearless Pirate Guard did for and with Saint Peter’s is now unmistakable .

“He’s an amazing coach and you can’t do what he does without being a great coach and a great leader,” Amaker told The Post. “When I see his games and his team, I think they have inherited his personality of fearless, confident belief. … Unshakeable belief in who they are and what they do. The headmaster shows them the way and sets the tone.

“I’m just so proud of him and happy for him, and I’m really excited and delighted for Saint Peter – you’re not just thinking about Shaheen, but everything that’s happening to this institution to have that kind of unity and visibility.” and all the goodwill that these types of moments can inspire in your students, your faculty, your community, and your alumni. How cool is that?”

No one knows better than Amaker, now Harvard head coach, how easy it will be to cheer on Holloway against North Carolina on Sunday night, 40 minutes from a Final Four.

Shaheen Holloway and Tommy Amaker
Shaheen Holloway and Tommy Amaker
USA TODAY Sports; New York Post

“He adjusted his game to become the kind of player he ended up being,” Amaker said. “He was always a goalscorer. He’s really developed into a great point guard in terms of quarterbacking and orchestration — all the things you see him doing now he’s just doing from the touchline instead of being on the ground. But he orchestrates so much for others and I thought this year he really did that for us and that made us such a much better team this year.”

Unfortunately, Holloway broke his ankle in game two of the NCAA tournament against Temple and was a helpless spectator in the Sweet 16 against Oklahoma State.

“That’s part of how we know, it’s really unfortunate things that you can’t control,” Amaker said. “He made the game-winning basket the game before when we upset Oregon in the first round and obviously couldn’t help us the next day but his teammates picked him up and carried him just like he carried us.”

Amaker still remembers how significant it was for Holloway to be the first in his family to graduate from college.

“One of the things that always touched and moved me about him was knowing how important it was to him to be a college grad,” Amaker said. “I was just blown away by how determined and committed he was. He wanted to be as good a player as possible, he wanted to play like everyone else in the NBA, but he also wanted to make sure he got through college.”

Amaker recalled the relationship Amaker and the student-athletes had with a woman named Robin Cunningham, director of Academic Support Services at Seton Hall from 1984 to 2003.

“She knew how hard he was working and he knew how much she helped and believed in him,” Amaker said.

Amaker was asked if he’s seen an underdog story like this.

“I’d have to keep looking somehow,” he said, laughing, “because I can’t think of anything right now.” Ex-coach Tommy Amaker ‘so proud’ of Shaheen Holloway’s success


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