Joseph Mullaney was born on Long Island, New York on November 17, 1925. After graduating from Chaminade High School in Mineola and service in the US Air Force he attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where he played basketball with the legendary Bob Cousy. In 1947 he was co-captain of the Crusaders when they won the NCAA basketball national championship. After graduation from college he played one year of professional basketball for the Boston Celtics alongside his college teammate Cousy. Joe was drafted by the Celtics on the 3rd round.
Following a short career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he began his long career as a basketball coach, first at Norwich University in Vermont (1954-1955), but the following year he commenced his long association with Providence College basketball program. He coached Friar basketball from 1955 until 1969 when he left to coach professional basketball in the N.B.A. He returned to Providence in 1978 as head coach of Brown University basketball. In 1981 he returned to Providence College where he coached until 1985. During his coaching career at Providence College he took the Friars to the National Invitational Tournament six times, winning the championship in 1961 and 1963. He also coached the Friars three times in the NCAA tournament. At Providence College he recruited and coached future NBA players Lenny Wilkins, John Thompson, Mike Riordan, Johnny Egan and Jimmy Walker.
Mullaney professional basketball coaching career began as head coach of the Los Angles Lakers in 1969. He would coach a number of teams in both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the American Basketball Association (ABA). In 1974 he was voted co-ABA Coach of the Year.
In 1946 Joe was married to Jane (Washburn) Cuddy, a relative of PC coach Vin Cuddy, and was the father of five children and three stepchildren. After his retirement from basketball in 1985, he continued to live in Rhode Island where he died on March 8, 2000. He is buried in East Greenwich.
Russell J. DeSimone