During halftime of last night’s Rutgers men’s basketball game versus Michigan, the BTN crew interviewed athletic director Pat Hobbs. When asked to speak about the job first year head coach Steve Pikiell has done with the program, Hobbs said this:
“He’s exceeded our expectations in every way. Steve’s just a winner. He did that, obviously, at Stony Brook. He came in here, he completely changed the culture. I think he’s the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Sure, you look at wins and losses, but in every statistical category, we’ve improved. It’s really tremendous. Defense, rebouding, all of those things you want to do. But most importantly for me, the kids are playing hard, they’re playing really hard.”
On how the players seem to be embracing Pikiell:
“Oh. absolutely. Everybody’s excited. Our players are excited, our fans are excited. It’s a new day at Rutgers and this a very, very proud moment for all of us.”
In regards to the upcoming practice facility:
“It’s going great. So we launched this campaign last January, this 100 million dollar campaign. We’ve already exceeded 70 million dollars in public and private support. It’ll house both our women’s and men’s basketball programs, wrestling and gymnastics. It’ll be a game changer for coach Pikiell”
It was great for BTN to give Hobbs an opportunity to speak on the job Pikiell has done with the program in his first year. Last night was one of several gut wrenching losses this season, but as I wrote after the game, I’ll take agonizing defeats over disheartening and dispassionate blowouts of recent years past.
For the full interview, watch here:
It was also fun to see Rutgers football coach Chris Ash at the game and supporting the men’s basketball program. With both teams in the early stages of massive rebuilds, it’s great to see synergy from the two head coaches and AD. The picture with Ash in the glasses, which is hysterical, was part of the athletic department’s snapchat feed.
Lastly, it was announced yesterday that Hobbs will give an update on the R B1G Build campaign via the Rutgers Athletics Facebook page, being aired at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday the 24th.
Everything covered in this post highlights the positive momentum taking place in the Rutgers athletic department. Hobbs is organized and has been extremely visible, which we just covered here. He has a pair of young, hungry coaches leading the school’s two signature programs who are aligned with the AD and committed to helping to drive fundraising. With all of that said, Hobbs is representing Rutgers extremely well in the public eye, something that was sorely needed. It’s hard not to look at the big picture and see anything but a positive outlook for the future. As with anything on this large scale, patience is needed. Construction is underway in rebuilding Rutgers athletics into something we all can be proud of and that’s certainly something to be positive about! Things truly are “knight and day” from a year ago.