2006 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
Finalist - 2006 Naismith National Coach of the Year
2004 NABC District 4 Coach of the Year
Karl Hobbs is in his 10th year as head men's basketball coach at The George Washington University.
During 2006, Hobbs guided the Colonials to a 23-9 record and the 2007 A-10 Tournament title, it's second in three years. The tournament title gave GW an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament--its third straight appearance in the "Big Dance"--marking the first time in program history that the Colonials have appeared in three straight NCAA Tournaments.
Hobbs was selected as an assistant coach for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship Team at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men. Hobbs, along with then-sophomore Damian Hollis, helped guide the USA to the silver medal, July 12-22, in Novi Sad, Serbia.
In 2005-06, he guided the Colonials to their most successful year in the 92-season history of the program. GW posted a school-record 27 victories en route to a 27-3 overall record, including a perfect 16-0 mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference, also a school record for league wins. As a result, GW captured its second straight A-10 regular-season title and Hobbs was named the 2006 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year for his efforts marking the first time a GW coach had received that honor in the 30-year history of the league. Hobbs also was one of four finalists for the national Naismith Award for Men's College Coach of the Year.
Other milestones from the historic 2005-06 season included a national ranking in every week of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll beginning with a preseason ranking of No. 21 to the final ranking of No. 14. GW rose as high as No. 6 in the AP Poll twice last season, its highest national ranking in 50 years. The Colonials put together an incredible 18-game winning streak, not only a school record but also was the longest in the nation at the time. The Colonials received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed, its highest ever. The wild ride came to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against the overall No. 1 seed, Duke, at Greensboro, NC.
In 2004-05, Hobbs' team `turned the corner' with a 22-8 record along with the Atlantic 10 Conference West Division championship and the A-10 Tournament title, the last of which resulted in GW's second-ever automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 22 victories were the most since the 1997-98 season and the second-most in 50 years.
The GW basketball program has made tremendous strides under the guidance of Hobbs who has placed an emphasis on developing players in his system. None of the current Colonials were heavily recruited before they arrived on the GW campus for Hobbs' first season in 2001-02. Attendance at GW's Charles E. Smith Athletic Center increased steadily during those four seasons. GW played to sold-out crowds several times during the 2004-05 through the 2006-07 seasons and attendance for home games has increased 40 percent over the past several seasons as has season-ticket sales.
The Colonials also played on national television seven times in `04-05, up from just one national TV appearance in 2001-02. Regarding television coverage, DC's local cable outlet, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, began a weekly special--The Karl Hobbs Report--every Friday to update fans about the Colonials. The Washington Post, with a circulation of more than 800,000, assigned a beat writer to cover the Colonials as it became clear that GW was on its way to having a banner year.
Hobbs was selected to serve as a court coach for the 2005 USA Men's World University Games Team Trials held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. In Colorado, Hobbs was responsible for conducting drills, coaching scrimmages and working with players who were vying for spots on the 2005 USA World University Games Team.
In his third season at GW, Hobbs led the Colonials to an 18-12 record in 2003-04, a postseason appearance in the NIT and was named the District 4 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). GW's 18 victories and second-place finish in the A-10 West Division were both highwater marks spanning the previous five years.
Hobbs, 49, was hired on May 7, 2001, after eight seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut, where he earned a reputation as a top recruiter. He is credited with the recruitment and development of current Detroit Piston Richard Hamilton, as well as Khalid El-Amin and Kevin Freeman - all starters on the 1999 national champions Huskies.
In his first season as a head coach, Hobbs also proved to observers that he is much more than a talented recruiter. His frenetic, super-charged coaching style of foot-stomping and piercing whistles on the sidelines did not go unnoticed by media and fans alike. His players couldn't help but put forth the same energy and effort that Hobbs exudes on the bench and from the coaching box. At times he seemed to "will" his team to victory.
It took only one game--his first as GW's head coach--to see Hobbs' energy manifest itself in his team as the Colonials pulled out a stunning come-from-behind victory over Marshall in the NABC Classic at Kentucky's famed Rupp Arena. Trailing by 19 points early in the second half, the Colonials staged a herculean comeback aided by a defensive effort that held Marshall to just 2-for-28 (7 percent) shooting in the second half as the Colonials not only won the game but also won over the largely non-partisan crowd.
When Hobbs arrived at GW, he inherited a team with just one veteran player who had logged more than twice as many minutes as any other Colonials returnee from last season. He also inherited a schedule that, by pure coincidence, had the Colonials facing both of his former employers in back-to-back non-conference games...Boston University at Smith Center in late November followed by powerful Connecticut just four days later. Hobbs knew what he was getting into and he relished the challenge.
His first starting lineup consisted of the proven veteran in junior Chris Monroe, senior Jaason Smith who had been a role player but who would come into his own as a team leader; a sophomore shooting guard, Greg Collucci, who played just eight minutes a game as a freshman; and a pair of raw freshmen, forward Tamal Forchion and point guard T.J. Thompson, neither of whom had played in a college game.
This group came together quickly and got off to a surprising 10-5 start marked by dramatic come-from-behind victories over Marshall and Yale (in overtime), and Old Dominion and Providence on the road. But perhaps Hobbs' best coaching performance of the year came in the consolation game of the BB&T Classic at Washington's MCI Center. Following a disheartening loss to UConn and his mentor, Jim Calhoun, Hobbs' team was set to face the always very disciplined Princeton squad that had led eventual national champion Maryland for 39 minutes the night before. The Colonials took the floor against the Tigers with an air of confidence that betrayed their inexperience and repeatedly refused to allow Princeton to execute its trademark back-door cuts to the basket. The Colonials prevailed convincingly in a game that most had given them little or no chance to win.
During the 2002-03 season, the Colonials' eight freshmen combined to play a total of 2,954 minutes or half of the team's minutes per game. Those first-year players scored a total of 873 points (30.1 ppg) and accounted for 42 percent of the team total. Leading the way was A-10 All-Rookie selection Mike Hall whose 8.2 rebounds-per-game average tied for second-most in the league. In so doing, Hall became the first Colonials freshman to lead the team in rebounding in eight years. Likewise, classmate Pops Mensah-Bonsu's .585 (103-176) field goal percentage led the team...the first time a freshman had accomplished that feat since the 1994-95 season. The young Colonials scored an average of 71.4 points a game ranking fourth in the A-10 in scoring offense. Also, GW's +3.0 rebounding margin was third-highest in the league.
GW played a total of 14 games against opponents that advanced to the postseason, including an upset over Saint Joseph's that Hobbs points to as the biggest victory in his brief career as a head coach. The Colonials also stretched Final Four participant Texas and logged strong showings against perennial NCAA Tournament entries Connecticut and Maryland. The Colonials also went down to the wire at Xavier before a lengthy television replay was needed to decide the outcome.
The `03 season also was highlighted by GW's advance past the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time in two years. The Colonials defeated fourth-seeded Massachusetts on the road in the first round to advance to the quarterfinal round.
In the 2003-04 season, the Colonials turned the corner and posted an 18-12 record. Despite preseason prognosticators picking GW to finish fifth in the A-10's West Division, the Colonials challenged for the division title before finishing second in the West with an 11-5 mark and made their first postseason appearance since 1999. The six-game turnaround from the previous year did not go unnoticed by his peers as Hobbs was named by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as the District 4 Coach of the Year in 2004. Hobbs orchestrated victories over Charlotte on the road as well as wins over Dayton, Xavier and Temple at home. He also guided the Colonials to a neutral-site victory over West Virginia and gave 17th-ranked Gonzaga all it could handle in the BB&T Classic.
All this provides further evidence that Hobbs' squad had closed the competitive gap in the Atlantic 10 and has positioned itself as a contender.
CBS analyst Billy Packer referred to Hobbs as "one of the finest young coaches in America." UConn's Calhoun has called Hobbs "one of the best perimeter coaches in the country."
NBA All-Star Ray Allen of the Seattle Supersonics lauded Hobbs, saying that he had a "terrific guard coach" who helped fine tune his fundamentals.
"Coach Hobbs makes you feel very comfortable and without Coach Hobbs, I would not have gone to Connecticut," Hamilton said, reflecting on his recruiting experience with Hobbs. "He's an excellent coach. When things weren't going as well as I wanted them to go and I was struggling, he would watch a lot of tape with me and bring me into the gym for extra shooting. Even when things were going well for me, he was the type of coach who really stayed on me and never wanted me to settle for anything less than greatness, and I owe a lot to him," Hamilton added.
While at Storrs, Hobbs helped coach the Huskies to NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons, including a 75-63 second-round victory over GW in the 1994 NCAA tournament at Nassau Coliseum.
A native of Roxbury, MA, Hobbs attended Connecticut where he was a four-year starting point guard under former coach Dom Perno. Perno is now Associate Athletic Director for Development at GW.
Hobbs played point guard for the Huskies from 1981-84 and was captain of the team as a senior in 1983-84. He never missed a game in four seasons and started 104 of 113 games. He led the team in assists for four consecutive seasons totaling 534 assists. He currently ranks fourth on the UConn career assists list. He scored 900 points (8.0 ppg) and averaged 30 minutes per game during his college career.
Hobbs, who played with Patrick Ewing and for former GW coach Mike Jarvis at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in the late '70s, helped lead his team to the Massachusetts State High School title. He was named Massachusetts Schoolboy Player of the Year in 1979-80.
Prior to joining Calhoun's staff at UConn, Hobbs served as an assistant coach at Boston University for six years (1988-93). Three of those seasons (1988-90) he was on Jarvis's staff before Jarvis left BU to come to GW. Boston University won the North Atlantic Conference title twice and advanced to the NCAA Tournament first round in two of Hobbs' four seasons in Boston. Hobbs worked with the BU guards and was heavily involved in the team's recruiting efforts.
Hobbs and his wife, JoAnn, have two daughters: RaShauna and Kaliah.
GW Program Firsts Under Karl Hobbs:
Hobbs' Year-By-Year Record