Hobbs, Hanson Join UK Basketball Staff
Former Alabama head coach David Hobbs and former Kentucky letterman Reggie Hanson will join the basketball staff at the University of Kentucky, Coach Tubby Smith announced today.
Hobbs will join the staff as an assistant coach following the departure of Shawn Finney, who was named head coach at Tulane in July. Hanson, who played for the Wildcats from 1988-91, will be named administrative assistant.
"I am real excited to have these guys on board," Smith said. "It elevates our program, and keeps us on track and focused on the future, as well as the present."
Smith also promoted current assistant Mike Sutton into Finney's recruiting role off campus while George Felton was promoted to associate head coach. These are the first changes to Smith's UK staff since he was named coach in 1997. Hobbs and Smith, along with Sutton, served as assistant coaches together at Virginia Commonwealth University under head coach J.D. Barnett. After coaching on the Rams' staff for six years (1980-85), Hobbs joined Alabama as an assistant coach. He spent six years on Wimp Sanderson's staff as the Crimson Tide won one SEC Championship, four SEC Tournament crowns and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 four times.
When Sanderson left following the 1992 season, Hobbs was named head coach. In his first season, the Tide finished 16-13 and advanced to the NIT. In 1994 and '95, Alabama recorded 20-win seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament behind the play of current Olympian Antonio McDyess. In '96, Hobbs led UA to a 19-13 mark and a berth in the NIT Final Four. He resigned his post following the 1998 season after compiling a 110-76 (59.4%) career record and producing nine All-SEC players.
"Dave comes from Alabama where he had a great career and brings a lot of expertise, a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience," Smith said. "Having worked as an assistant coach under Wimp Sanderson and running their program, I know he has the ability and will bring a lot to our program."
Throughout his 17-year coaching career, Hobbs has helped teams to more than 400 victories and 15 postseason tournament appearances, including 13 in the NCAA Tournament. "When I was out of coaching, I had a lot of people ask me if I would ever consider getting back in at the assistant coaching level," Hobbs said. "I told them that three things would have to be in place before I would do that. First, it depended on who the coach was. Secondly, I would consider the kind of school and its reputation. Lastly, I would have to consider the league in which the school played. That was my criteria, and at Kentucky all those things are in place. Tubby is a great guy, and I have so much respect for him as a coach. Kentucky is a fine school with great tradition that plays in a great league."
Hobbs, 51 years old and a native of Lynchburg, Va., lettered his junior and senior seasons (1970-71) at VCU where he earned his education degree after spending his first two seasons playing at Ferrum (Va.) Junior College. Much like Smith, Hobbs' coaching career began in the prep ranks at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Va., for eight seasons, the last three as head coach.
Hobbs is married to Barbara "Skeet" Fleet Hobbs and they have two children, Heather (30) and David, Jr. (23).
Hanson, 31, has spent the past eight years playing professional basketball. After graduating from UK in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in education, the Somerset, Ky., native played one season for the Louisville Shooters of the Global League before spending the next seven seasons playing professionally in Japan. The last six years, he was both a player and assistant coach overseas and even spent the last two months of the 1998 season playing for the Boston Celtics.
In 1995, he was the Japan Basketball League's leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. In 1996, he led the JBL in scoring and steals and was named Defensive Player of the Year. During his JBL career which was scheduled to continue prior to accepting the coaching position at UK Hanson averaged 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, shooting 51.2 percent from the field, 84.1 percent from the foul line and 36 percent from the three-point line.
But it was at Kentucky where Hanson endeared himself to the Wildcat faithful. During his sophomore season, the program was rocked by an NCAA investigation. Mass defections and a coaching change occurred as a two-year penalty was imposed on the men's basketball team. That meant no television exposure for one season and no postseason play for two years. Hanson, with just two years eligibility remaining, chose to stay and play for new coach Rick Pitino and his assistant, Tubby Smith.
"I've been at UK during its worst times with the probation, and then at some of the best times when we began to turn the program around," Hanson said. "Playing overseas, I've had my ups and downs. That's what I can show these players dedication, sacrifice and commitment."
In his senior season, Hanson guided the '91 Wildcats to the best record (22-6) in the Southeastern Conference, even though UK was not eligible for the league title. As team captain that year, he tied John Pelphrey for scoring honors averaging 14.4 ppg after tallying 16.4 ppg in 1990. He still ranks 34th on the all-time scoring list at UK with 1,167 points. At 6-7, Hanson lettered all four years playing center his last two seasons and led the team in field goals made (1990), rebounding (1990, '91), blocks (1990, '91) and steals (1989, '90).
Hanson's dedication to the program led Pitino to rename the team's sacrifice award, the Reggie Hanson Sacrifice Award. He also was named All-SEC as both a junior and senior and earned numerous team awards, including team MVP and the Leadership Award his last two seasons.
"Reggie brings a lot of uniqueness to the program having played here before," Smith said. "He understands the system. He has played in Japan and that is something our players aspire to be, a professional basketball player. Reggie wanted to get into the profession, and I think this is a terrific opportunity for him."
"I'm very excited and enthusiastic about the chance to come home to my alma mater," Hanson said. "This is a career I set out for myself, and this is a great chance to come home and get my feet wet. This will give me the chance to work on my organization and communication skills. I play with the guys every summer. They know me and I'm very familiar with them. I'm very excited about my role within the program."
Hanson and his wife Lynelle reside in Lexington with daughters Sakia (11) and Jaitesha (5).
The Hobbs FileFull Name: David A. Hobbs
Birthdate: April 25, 1949
Hometown: Lynchburg, Va.
High School: E.C. Glass
College: Virginia Commonwealth
Sport Played: Basketball
Year Lettered: 1970, '71
Degree: Bachelor's - Education (1972)
Coaching Career1972-76: Lee-Davis High School (Mechanicsville, Va.) - assistant coach
1977-79: Lee-Davis High School - head coach
1980-85: Virginia Commonwealth - assistant coach
1985-92: Alabama - assistant coach
1993-98: Alabama - head coach
1993 16-13 (NIT) 1994 20-10 (NCAA) 1995 23-10 (NCAA) 1996 19-13 (NIT) 1997 17-14 1998 15-16 Totals 110-76 (6 years)
The Hanson FileFull Name: Reginald Leonard Hanson
Birthdate: Oct. 8, 1968 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Hometown: Somerset, Ky.
High School: Pulaski County
Sport Played: Basketball
Years Lettered: 1988-91
Degree: Bachelor's - Education (1991)
Playing Career1992: Louisville Shooters - Global League
1993: Isuzu Motors, Ltd. - Japanese Basketball League
1994-98: Denso Co., Ltd. - JBL (player/assistant coach)
1998-00: Aichi Machine, Ltd. - JBL (player/assistant coach)
1998: Boston Celtics (2 mos.)
JBL Career Averages: 20.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.6 spg, 3.3 apg, 1.6 bpg