Hobart Director of Athletics Mike Hanna ’68 announced today that Mike Neer, the former University of Rochester head coach with 563 career victories to his credit, will end a one-year retirement to return to the hardwood as the head coach of the Statesmen. He replaces Izzi Metz ’98, who resigned earlier this month to accept the director of basketball operations job at Boston College.
“As a teacher, leader, citizen and teammate Mike Neer is the perfect fit for Hobart Athletics and Hobart Basketball,” Hanna said. “Along with our players and fans, I’m deeply grateful to Izzi Metz for the superb shape in which he’s leaving our program and equally excited about the future of Hobart basketball under Coach Neer’s leadership. All of us – the players, our coaches and our support staff – stand to grow from Mike’s experience and his commitment to small college athletics and especially to the coaching profession.”
The Yellowjackets’ career wins leader, Neer led Rochester to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Final Four, three championship games, and the 1990 national championship. When he retired following the 2009-10 season, he boasted a 563-326 record (.633). Neer is tied for 12th place in NCAA Division III men’s basketball history for the most career victories and will be ninth among active coaches when he makes his Bristol Gym debut on Nov. 15 against Ithaca.
At the 2011 National Association of Basketball Coaches, Neer received the NABC’s Outstanding Service Award. A three-time University Athletic Association Coach of the Year, he was voted the NABC Division III National Coach of the Year in 1990. His Rochester teams were honored four times with the Sam Schoenfeld Award for outstanding sportsmanship as selected by members of the Western New York State chapter of the College Basketball Officials Association (CBOA). In the spring of 2010, CBOA presented its national Sam Schoenfeld Award to the University.
In 1992, Neer received the Elliott Cushing Award from the Rochester Press-Radio Club for the local person who has excelled on a national level. The award came after Rochester’s three-year run in the NCAA Division III tournament that resulted in a national championship (1990), an Elite 8 appearance (1991), and a national runner-up finish (1992).
Neer has mentored seven All-Americans and seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans®.
While a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves, Neer began his coaching career at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served as an assistant coach for five seasons.
A 1970 graduate of Washington and Lee University, Neer earned a master’s degree in education from Rochester in 1988.
In five seasons, Metz led his alma mater to new heights. He compiled a 69-62 record (.527), a mark that ranks him first at Hobart in wins per season (13.8), third in winning percentage, and fifth in career wins. Metz led the Statesmen to a school record 21 wins in 2010-11, capturing the Liberty League regular season championship and the ECAC Upstate Tournament Championship. His recruiting classes have produced three Liberty League Rookies of the Year-Tim Llewellyn (2007-08), Stefan Thompson (2009-10), Richie Bonnie (2010-11)-and two-time unanimous first-team All-Liberty League selection Matt Peoble, who led the conference in scoring as a sophomore. Llewellyn was also selected as the inaugural Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11.
Neer inherits a roster that includes two returning starters and nine returning lettermen.