WEB EXCLUSIVE: GW hires Hobbs to replace Penders

GW is expected to announce that Karl Hobbs, the eight-year assistant coach under Jim Calhoun at the University of Connecticut, will take over as GW men’s basketball head coach Monday. The University scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference Monday in the Smith Center to make the hiring official.

The men’s program has been without a head coach since former coach, Tom Penders, resigned April 20, citing exhaustion from more than 30 consecutive years of coaching. Penders stepped down amid off-court turmoil surrounding his team.

Hobbs is a surprise pick by the University. Women’s head coach Joe McKeown, who has coached GW’s nationally ranked program for 12 years, interviewed twice for the job and was offered the position, according to a May 6 Washington Post article. McKeown said GW never made an offer to him. He pulled his name from contention Friday. McKeown would have been the first coach since Speedy Morris at La Salle in 1986 to make the leap from coaching a women’s team to a men’s team.

Hobbs beat out Kevin Clarke, a former associate head coach at GW and a current associate under Mike Jarvis at St John’s University. Both McKeown and Clarke had interviewed Saturday for the position. They were the leading contenders for the position after University of North Carolina-Greensboro head coach Fran McCaffery withdrew his name Friday.

Hobbs will inherit a GW team swathed with question marks and off-court troubles including a NCAA violation for phone fraud last month and an alleged sexual assault by forward Attila Cosby last summer. The latest question mark, according to ESPN.com, is the possible transfer out of GW by sophomore Chris Monroe. Hobbs told ESPN.com Sunday morning that his first order of business will be to convince Monroe, GW’s leading scorer during the 2000-01 season, to stay.

The team will be without sophomore guard SirValiant Brown, who announced his decision to enter the NBA Draft last week. Brown told the Post in a May 3 article that he will not return to GW even if he goes unselected in the draft.

Hobbs will also wait the result of a June D.C. Superior Court date for Cosby, who returns to court after nine new misdemeanor charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a GW investigation into allegations that four GW players were involved in a phone scandal using former assistant coach Tom Penders Jr.’s person phone code.

Hobbs is known as a great recruiter and a guard’s coach. He recruited key players on the University of Connecticut’s 1999 national championship team.

He was an assistant coach at UConn for eight years. His connection to GW though is through GW’s assistant athletic director, Dom Pernot. Pernot recruited and coached Hobbs in the early 1980s at UConn. Hobbs was captain of the 1983-84 Huskies team coached by Pernot.

Prior to coaching at UConn, Hobbs served as a full-time assistant coach at Boston University for six seasons.

Hobbs had been pursuing coaching positions at a number of division one colleges including American University, Washington State University, Siena College and Drexel University.

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