That magical 2005-06 season when George Washington went 27-3, 16-0 in the Atlantic-10 and was slighted with an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament must seem light years away for Karl Hobbs. It was the best of times for the Colonials - even if not for the rest of the conference - and Hobbs was in fine standing. Now, after a decade in the nation's capital, he's out of a job. The long time GW coach was fired yesterday afternoon after refusing to tender his resignation to new athletic director Patrick Nero.
Suddenly the Mid-Atlantic region is ripe with desirable coaching vacancies as both GW and George Mason are open for the taking. The Patriots are a brand name now in light of their recent run of success, while the Colonials play in a recognizable conference and are located in an outstanding hotbed for recruiting talent. Ironically enough, one name that has already started coming up for both openings is Mike Lonergan of Vermont, which just so happens to be the very first team to go under the spotlight for our 2011-12 Preview Series which begins this afternoon. So for the time being, enjoy the recap from yesterday and check back often for our look at the Catamounts later today.
Josh Barr of the Washington Post: "Karl Hobbs will not coach the George Washington men's basketball team next season. Hobbs's departure was announced in a news release sent out by university officials on Monday evening. "The university determined that now is the time for new leadership of GW's men's basketball team," Robert Chernak, senior vice provost and senior vice president who oversees the athletic program, said in a written statement. Patrick Nero, who was hired as GW's athletic director on Wednesday but has yet to take over the day-to-day responsibilities of the job, met with Hobbs on Monday afternoon and informed him he was being let go. Nero did not respond to requests for comment. Previously the commissioner of the America East Conference, Nero will replace Jack Kvancz, who is retiring June 30 after 17 years in Foggy Bottom. In a telephone conversation Monday evening, Chernak stressed that although Nero had been on the job only a few days, this was not a rash decision on his part. Chernak called Hobbs's departure a "university decision." Nero "is not a person who acts in a percipitant manner," Chernak said. "Clearly we've been discussing it with him. We wanted to wait until we had an AD in place to lead the search" for the next men's basketball coach."
Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times: "George Washington ousted basketball coach Karl Hobbs on Monday, less than a week after the Colonials hired a new athletic director. Hobbs' contract was set to expire next year, but the university opted to release him "effective immediately," according to a statement. "The university determined that now is the time for new leadership of GW's men's basketball team. On behalf of the university, I thank Karl Hobbs for his dedicated service and the many successes he achieved during his tenure," senior vice provost and senior vice president Robert Chernak said in the statement. Hobbs was 166-129 with three NCAA tournament appearances in 10 seasons, but did not reach the NCAA tournament in the last four years. The Colonials were 17-14 with a first-round loss in the Atlantic 10 tournament to Saint Joseph's last season. The decision swiftly followed the hiring of Patrick Nero, who was named on Wednesday as the replacement for retiring athletic director Jack Kvancz. Nero comes to George Washington after a stint of more than five years as the commissioner of the America East. "I think everyone has very high expectations of men's and women's basketball here at George Washington, and I will say I share those high expectations," Nero said after his introductory press conference. "I need to spend some time and see how we can be better."
Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune: "The biggest name in the USD sports bribery case made a sudden and short appearance in federal court Monday before heading back home to Houston. Brandon Johnson, the former Toreros basketball player, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment downtown before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruben Brooks. He is free on a $25,000 bond and was appointed a local attorney, Oliver Cleary. Johnson was arrested without incident April 9 in Houston. Cleary said Johnson traveled to San Diego on his own for his arraignment, which happened Monday with little prior notice. "That was probably on purpose so there was not a media frenzy," Cleary said. Johnson, 24, has indicated he is unable to afford his own attorney, leading to the appointment of an attorney by the court Monday. Cleary said Johnson was on his way back home to Houston after his arraignment. He declined further comment."
Colgate made a coaching move yesterday, hiring Temple assistant Matt Langel after he had served the last five years on the bench with the Owls.
John A. Fantino of the Burlington Free Press: "The college basketball coaching carousel and rumor mills are spinning, which should concern University of Vermont fans because Mike Lonergan is considered a candidate for two jobs that recently opened in the Washington D.C. area. UVM's successful coach is being linked to vacancies at George Mason and George Washington. The Washington Post identified Lonergan as a possible candidate for both positions. Jim Larranaga left George Mason to take the University of Miami head coaching job while George Washington coach Karl Hobbs resigned today. Both schools appear to be logical destinations for Lonergan, who grew up in the Capital District, won a NCAA Division III national championship at Catholic University and was an assistant at the University of Maryland before heading to UVM in 2005. And both jobs are big steps up the college coaching ladder."
Via Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Press Release: "Former Wichita State assistant coach Marty Gross has been named the Associate Head Men's Basketball Coach for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, head coach Willis Wilson announced today. Gross, who served as an assistant with Wilson at Rice for 15 seasons, has 34 years of experience in college basketball. "I've known Marty Gross for almost 30 years, and he is the perfect person to help bring our basketball program to the level we aspire," Wilson said. "Marty will carry an intensity and an energy to everything he does with Islanders Basketball, and he will get the most out of our players every day. His experience in college basketball is top-notch, and I look forward to working with him again." Gross spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State, where he helped lead the Shockers to 29 wins and the NIT title in 2010-11 season. In each of his four seasons, WSU improved its win total, and over four years averaged more than 20 wins. Each of the last two years, the Shockers finished in the Missouri Valley Conference's top two during the regular season."