Men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs may or may not lead the Colonials to the NCAA Tournament next month, but GW officials didn’t wait that long to make a decision about his future. The University extended the fourth-year head coach’s contract through 2011. Terms of the three-year extension were not disclosed.
The timing of the deal – with GW on the cusp of possibly making the tournament for the first time in Hobbs’ tenure – echoes the coach’s first contract extension in 2003, which signed him through 2008. Both came before athletic department officials believed the team was about to make significant strides on the court, strides that Hobbs attributed to the University’s focus on a combination of basketball, off-court leadership and academics.
“Obviously it’s not based just on basketball, because if it was, they would’ve waited until we got into the NCAA Tournament,” Hobbs said. “And I think that speaks volumes about the people around here.” Hobbs was hired in 2001 and has since compiled a 60-51 record with the team.
The Colonials’ current 18-7 record has the team tied for first place in the Atlantic 10 West, as attendance at games and campus interest in the team has continued to rise.
“Coach Hobbs brings tenacity, spirit and team-building skills that help cultivate athletic talent and sportsmanship in GW men’s basketball,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in a written statement. “He’s a proven leader with academic values and an understanding of what it is to be a teacher in a university.”
Hobbs cited Trachtenberg’s support as one of the main reasons he is not looking to leave GW anytime soon.
“For me, it’s about people,” Hobbs said. “It’s nice to get a note from President Trachtenberg after a loss. I don’t know how many coaches are getting a nice note from their University president after a loss.”
After serving as an assistant coach at University of Connecticut for eight years under Jim Calhoun, Hobbs has been to the apex of the basketball world.
“The nice part for me I’ve been at the highest level. I’ve won a national championship,” Hobbs said. “I’m not trying to get to the next level. I know what it’s like to take charter planes to games. I know what its like to recruit All-Americans.”
Despite previous success, the challenge he has encountered at GW has been completely different but at the same time, rewarding for the fourth-year coach who grew up in Boston.
“Every job is a tough job. You give me the job, I’ll tell you it’s a tough job,” Hobbs said. “You think Duke’s an easy job? Imagine every year having a bull’s eye on your chest.”
GW’s success this season should ease the pressure on Hobbs and help draw higher profile recruits to the program. In the past, GW’s lackluster facilities have taken players away from Foggy Bottom.
“When you walk in the arena and you see all the NBA jerseys and you see the nice weight room and all these grandeur things (Xavier has),” Hobbs said. “At GW we have positive things that we value at our university.”