Penders names new assistant basketball coach

University of Houston men’s basketball head coach Tom Penders came face-to-face with his past when he announced Wednesday that Jerry Hobbie, one of his former players, would join the staff as an assistant coach.

Hobbie, who played under Penders at Fordham University from 1982-85, spent 2006-07 as an assistant coach for Wilmington of the American Basketball League. Before that, he spent eight seasons coaching at Fairfield University and spent four years as an assistant coach at St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J.

Hobbie replaces former Houston assistant Trey Preston, who left during the offseason for a high school position in Pearland.

"I am excited about him being on our staff. He knows me and knows what I want so he will hit the ground running," Penders said in a release. "He has proven to be an outstanding recruiter at Fairfield, and has coached successfully at pro, collegiate and high school levels. He will be a great asset to our staff."

Beginning his coaching career in 1986 as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Fordham, Hobbie helped Fairfield earn an NIT berth in the 2002-2003 season with a 19-12 record.

Last season, Hobbie helped lead Wilmington to a 22-9 record and a first-place finish in the Central Division of the Blue Conference.

"The primary reason I came to Houston was the opportunity to work with Coach Penders," Hobbie said in a release. "Coach was a big part of my success and we maintained close contact. It is a great opportunity for me to work with him."

While playing for Fordham, Hobbie set the school’s record for best single-season free throw percentage, most assists in a game and in a season, as well as most steals in a game, season and career.

"Jerry is one of the best guards I have coached," Penders said in a release. "He was a leader and as a freshman played like a captain. He was a pure point guard and was one of the smartest players I had the opportunity to coach."

As a result of his impressive playing and records, some of which he still holds, Hobbie was inducted into Fordham’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005-2006.

During his collegiate career, Hobbie helped Fordham win the 1983 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship and earn four consecutive NIT berths from 1982-1985.

"Coach (Penders) is one of those guys who wants you to have confidence and the ability to perform at a high level," Hobbie said in a release. "He really maximizes your ability and (makes you) a better player by raising the bar and having confidence in you. He is the main reason for my success as a player."

Hobbie played professionally in 1985-86 with the West Chester Golden Apples of the United States Basketball League. He also played two seasons in Europe with Nottingham of the English Basketball Association.

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