Last night, Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media broke the news that Rutgers has given athletic director Pat Hobbs a contract extension. You can view the details in Sarge’s article below.
Our facilities guru and big picture analyst, Bob Cancro, gives his take on the full impact that Hobbs has had on the Rutgers athletic department and what this means moving forward, including football, here.
My first thought, as always with Rutgers, was with the men’s basketball program and the positive impact Pat Hobbs has had since his arrival.
With news of his extension, Pat Hobbs has done more for Rutgers men's basketball in 1.5 years than anyone else did in decades #KnightandDay— Aaron Breitman (@aaron_breitman) October 6, 2017
It’s no secret that the last facility built for the men’s basketball program was the RAC, which opened in November, 1977. While Rutgers has struggled immensely on the court for the better part of three decades, the program was certainly hurt by the lack of administrative support. The old saying of “football drives the bus” was especially true at Rutgers, despite mixed results on the grid iron over the years. I liked to include “and runs over the men’s basketball program in the process” after that phrase, but those days are now over.
Under Hobbs, fundraising efforts have been stronger than ever and the reality of a state of the art practice facility begins next month, as construction begins in full. That alone is more than anyone has accomplished or set in place in many years at Rutgers and it happened because of the leadership of Pat Hobbs.
The program has also been haunted by multiple hiring mistakes regarding head coaches for men’s basketball. Not only did many fail to make progress in leading the program, several set them back significantly. I don’t need to recount them in detail for you to nod your head in agreement.
Enter Hobbs, someone who geniunely cares about basketball and had previously made a successful hire with Seton Hall’s head coach, Kevin Willard. With one decision, Hobbs has completely changed the trajectory of the Rutgers men’s basketball program. The hiring of Steve Pikiell is recent enough that a complete evaluation of his tenure is still years away from happening, but the first year and half have been a resounding success. The culture of the program, performance on the court and recruiting have all been greatly improved under Pikiell so far. However, it’s his integrity and personality that have made him so endearing to fans. He is a straight shooter, hard working, and is constantly promoting the program in a positive way, backing it up with actions along the way. There are more legitimate reasons to be truly hopeful and believe in Rutgers men’s basketball than there has been in a very, very long time.
Without Pat Hobbs as athletic director, the odds of it being “same old Rutgers” in regards to men’s basketball wouldn’t have been an absolute certainty, but past history indicates it most likely would have been. Those days are finally behind us and much better one’s are not only ahead, but they are already here.