Updated: 8:23 p.m.
After a decade in the position, head coach Karl Hobbs will not be returning to the sidelines of GW next season.
The University released the 10-season coach from his contract, a senior administrator said, adding that GW will begin an immediate search for Hobbs’ replacement. The head coach’s contract was set to expire in 2012 and his release is “effective immediately,” a statement from GW reads.
Senior Vice Provost Robert Chernak explained further, saying incoming athletics director Patrick Nero “communicated” with Hobbs the terms of the coach’s departure Monday. Chernak added that GW will “honor” Hobbs’ contract through its completion – a sign that GW will continue to pay Hobbs his about $500,000 a year salary until 2012.
“The university determined that now is the time for new leadership of GW’s men’s basketball team,” Chernak said.
Nero said he will spend the next few days reaching to “his list” to search for coach.
“We want to do it fast but with a thorough search,” Nero said, adding that he has been “around college basketball for awhile,” and he has “watched and observed many people.”
The incoming athletic director declined to say if he was looking internally for Hobbs’ replacement, but said the decision about whether to keep the team’s assistant coaches would ultimately fall on new head coach.
“The incoming head coach will determine his staff,” Nero said. Nero also declined to explain the circumstances behind Hobbs’ sudden departure.
When asked about incoming recruit Erik Copes, rated by ESPNU as the sixth-best high school center in the country, Nero said GW will reach out to all three recruits who have already signed national letters of intent to come to GW to discuss their potential futures as Colonials.
“I don’t think these decisions are based upon particular recruiting decisions,” Chernak said, of the search for a new head coach. “To focus on recruiting, is just too short of an outlook for a decision like this.”
“I am proud of what we achieved here and am grateful to have had the chance to work with and guide the development and accomplishments of so many outstanding student-athletes. I thank the university, particularly President Trachtenberg and President Knapp, for its support and wish the Colonials great success in the future,” Hobbs said. Hobbs declined to comment beyond the statement.
Hobbs called an emergency team meeting Monday afternoon and told the players he is resigning, according to both individuals, who did not wish to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the situation, The Washington Post reported.
A member of the men’s basketball team said the team was meeting again Monday night but the gathering wasn’t connected with the departing head coach.
A source from inside the University said Monday at around 4 p.m., that Hobbs was fired but revised his statement 30 minutes later to say the head coach resigned.
Assistant coach Donyell Marshall said he had no comment, when leaving the men’s basketball townhouse Monday night.
“I’m not the head coach. No comment,” Marshall said.
Numerous players declined to comment about Hobbs.
Nero said the fate of women’s basketball coach Mike Bozeman has not been decided but every program will face a review. Like Hobbs, Bozeman’s contract expires next year.
The Colonials are coming off of their best season in the past four years after Hobbs led his team to a 17-14 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Atlantic 10 play, good enough for a tie for fourth place in the final conference standings. GW closed the season on a down note though, losing in the first round of the conference tournament to 12th seeded Saint Joseph’s.
Hobbs’ decade-long tenure at GW has been marked by a series of highs and lows for the men’s basketball team. The Colonials finished with losing records in both of Hobbs’ first two seasons, but the program began its surge to the top of the conference in his third season with a trip to the NIT in 2004.
The next season, Hobbs led the Colonials to the first of three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. The team reached its high-water mark during the 2005-2006 season, when the team went 16-0 in the A-10 regular season.
– Lauren French and Louis Nelson contributed to this report