MACON, Ga. - Mercer Athletics Director Bobby Pope on Thursday introduced Oklahoma Baptist alum and former head men's basketball coach Bob Hoffman as the new head men's basketball coach, effective immediately. Hoffman was recommended by a 10-member search committee that included Trustees Sam Mitchell, Diane Owens, Tony Moye, Bruce Gordy, Dick Plunkett, Mercer alums and former athletes John Collier and Tommy Mixon and boosters Charlie Cantrell and Henry Arrington. He succeeds Mark Slonaker, who coached the Bears from 1997 to 2008.
A native of Oklahoma City, Hoffman has been successful at all levels and boasts a proven track record from high school through the professional ranks. His overall record as a head coach at the collegiate level is 400-171. When his Mercer team takes the court this fall, he will rank among the top 25 active collegiate coaches in winning percentage.
Hoffman was most recently head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a NBA Development League franchise, and guided the American Basketball Association's Arkansas Aeros to a 25-2 record in 2006-07. The Aeros led the league in scoring, averaging 133 points per game in Hoffman's up-tempo style of basketball.
"Bob Hoffman was the first person we interviewed for our coaching position and he remained on the radar throughout the process," said Pope. "In the end, we felt he was the right fit. We had an excellent pool of candidates, and we feel that his experience and success at all levels, including high school, NAIA, NCAA D-I and professional basketball, make him the ideal choice to lead our program to prominence."
Prior to coaching the Aeros, Hoffman served for two years as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, where the Sooners recruited a class ranked in the top five nationally. Hoffman helped guide the Sooners to the first Big 12 championship in school history en route to a two-year record of 45-17 and back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
He brings a wealth of additional experience to the position, having served as head coach at the University of Texas Pan American from 1999-2004, compiling a 69-75 record at the NCAA Division I school. The highlight of Hoffman's stint with the Broncs was a 21-9 record during the 2001-02 season.
Hoffman guided UTPA to 12 wins in his first season, which was more than the previous three seasons combined, and posted the school's best record since the 1993-94 campaign. In 2001-2002, Texas Pan-Am had its first winning season since 1993-94, earned their first tournament victory since 1989-90, and recorded the most home wins in eight seasons. The Broncs were rated for the first time ever in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll and Hoffman was named National Independent Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.
"I am very excited about the potential at Mercer," Hoffman said. "My wife and I were overwhelmed by the prospects we saw when we visited the campus. We could tell that the Mercer administration is committed to developing a highly successful men's basketball program. I cannot wait to get started."
Challenges are nothing new to him as he turned programs around at Southern Nazarene and Oklahoma Baptist.
As the head women's basketball coach at Southern Nazarene, Hoffman took a team that had never posted a winning season and won the 1989 NAIA National Championship in just his second season with the team. In three seasons at the helm of the Crimson Storm, he compiled an 88-16 record, and was named Sooner Athletic Conference, District 9 and NAIA Coach of the Year.
Building on his success at Southern Nazarene, Hoffman took the reins of the men's program at his alma mater, Oklahoma Baptist, in 1990 and three seasons later guided the Bison to a 34-4 record and berth in the NAIA national championship game. Hoffman was named National Coach of the Year by Basketball Times and also earned Sooner Athletic Conference and District 9 Coach of the Year honors for his efforts. He went on to a record of 244-78, a winning percentage of .758 in nine seasons at OBU, earning six trips to the NAIA Tournament and making two trips to the championship contest.
He coached 10 All-Americans and 21 All-Conference selections during his tenure with the Bison. Hoffman was named Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times. During his nine years at OBU, Hoffman's teams averaged more than 90 points per game and led the NAIA in field goal percentage seven times.
A standout guard and forward and a 1979 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist, Hoffman is one of just 30 players to score at least 1,000 points in his OBU career.
Hoffman is married to the former Kelli Lumry. The couple has a son, Grant.