Coaching Spotlight: Bob Hoffman


There is the common expression that to whom much is given, much is expected. Head coach Bob Hoffman of the Mercer University men’s basketball team is in such a place at the moment. Coach Hoffman is the first coach to bring a postseason crown to Mercer and to the Atlantic Sun. Without a doubt, this is an extremely impressive place to be in, but through any discussions with Coach Hoffman it is obvious that this hasn’t changed the way he has carried himself or the way he approaches his game.
The Cluster: The CIT win will go down as a benchmark in the Mercer program, and success next year must match up to continue to show success from here, correct?
Bob Hoffman: True, we need to climb to new heights, but I am also dedicated to make sure our program is sustainable. At the end of the day, these guys need to be ready for life after basketball, and we can’t forget that when we are coaching them.
C: What was the best part of winning on an opponent’s floor for a championship, especially one of the hardest places to play in the country?
H: To watch [the players] enjoy the fruits of their labor was a tremendous blessing to witness. You could really see it in their eyes, and it was thrilling. It was the best game of the season in all aspects, from the environment to the game.
He routinely refers back to the team and to their success, showing his nature as a coach who truly believes in athletics in college as a stepping stone to being a man as opposed to just winning games.
C: What inspires you to keep coaching after all these years?
H: In college, you get to see guys come in as boys and leave as men…I really wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives. It’s what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going, to know that these lessons they will take not only to basketball, but to their future careers and families.
C: What will this victory in the CIT Championship do for the future of recruiting?
H: Visibility is always important, especially as we grow the brand of Mercer University as a whole. We are in a great place right now with some younger guys to potentially step up the entire program to the next level.
C: What was the lowest point this season, with a few heartbreaks here and there?
H: That semifinal loss to Florida Gulf Coast was the lowest point of the season, but we the coaching staff, put signs up that simply said Hope Remains. We had heard that there might be a second chance, another game in the works. While the guys weren’t really buying into the tournament at the beginning, you could see that it had turned around they were full of emotion after that win in the first round [over Tennessee State].
C: What keeps you going in a long 38-game season?
H: Well, this isn’t my first time coaching this many games, just at a different level. Honestly, my faith is a huge part of it. I’m a part of a great church, and plugging back in there rejuvenates me for the tough roads ahead. My family is a key part of it as well, and they are there for me always.
C: Tulsa singled you out for a potential head coaching gig. Are you looking to go somewhere else, or are you wanting to take care of some things here first?
H: I am dedicated to this program and incredibly thankful to the position I have at Mercer, thanks to President Underwood. He gave me a chance here, and I am happy to have taken this team to this level.
In essence, this humble man is one of the celebrities on Mercer’s campus right now, having brought home a championship against insurmountable odds. Coach Bob Hoffman shows his emotions on his sleeve during a game, and that showed through in his interview.