The Cinderella Story Comes to a Close and New Chapter Begins

Opinion by former Sports editor Jen Malti  (Class of 2022)

Fairleigh Dickinson announced Tuesday that head coach Tobin Anderson has accepted an offer to coach at Iona University. 

Anderson created a lifetime of memories in his productive 10 months on the Hackensack River -– and a season that will be cherished forever. For the record, the Knights finished 21-16. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights achieved the unthinkable by being the second No. 16-seeded team to defeat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

As an FDU undergrad, I covered the Knights for The Equinox since their last appearance in the Big Dance and have done too many live blogs on the team to count. 

Before I graduated, I had the opportunity to speak with Coach Anderson right after his press conference as Fairleigh Dickinson’s new head coach.  

Anderson spoke with such positivity and wisdom and listening, you just knew no matter what a preseason poll stated, his team was going to go somewhere. 

Now that his time with Fairleigh Dickinson is done, all hope is not lost.  

FDU announced that assistant coach Jack Castleberry will be its ninth head coach in men’s basketball history dating back to 1967. 

Castleberry worked alongside Anderson this historic season. 

As an alumna, and from my experience covering the team, the Knights’ future looks very bright. 

Fairleigh Dickinson makes a strategic decision by sticking within the system they know, with a coach they know well. 

The Knights have the puzzle pieces they need to get back to the Big Dance. With Anderson and Castleberry’s recruiting this past season, the FDU men’s basketball team should be able to build to replicate this season and go beyond their historic achievement. 

This also isn’t Castleberry’s first bout as a head coach. He served as an acting head coach for The Citadel, his alma mater, on Nov. 22, 2021, against Duke, where his team set a record for most three-point field goals by an opponent (18). Castleberry also helped develop future NBA player Lester Hudson during a one-year coaching stint at UT-Martin. 

So for my fellow Knights, don’t worry, we’ll be back. 

Once a Knight, always a Knight. Our Cinderella story is just getting started.  

Jen Malti is an alumna (Class of ’22) and a former sports editor for The Equinox. Since graduating, she continues her studies with the goal of earning her master’s in Business Administration at Stockton University. She just finished an internship with the Frontier League, an independent baseball league where she served as East Division beat reporter and digital marketing assistant.

Headshot Jenn Malti