Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
WASHINGTON, Kan. – Fort Hays State Women’s Basketball head coach Tony Hobson has been named the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Women’s Four-Year College Coach of the Year for 2018-19. This is the first time Hobson has received the honor from the KBCA in his coaching tenure at FHSU.
Hobson guided Fort Hays State to its best record since joining NCAA Division II with a 32-2 mark in 2018-19. The Tigers set a new program best for fewest losses in the regular season, going 27-1 prior to the MIAA Tournament. The Tigers won the MIAA regular season with an 18-1 record, besting defending national champion Central Missouri by three games in the standings, then captured their first MIAA Tournament Championship. The Tigers became the first women’s team in the MIAA to capture both titles in a season since 2012. FHSU finished the year ranked No. 5 in the WBCA Division II Top 25 Poll, the highest finish in the poll in program history.
Fort Hays State claimed the No. 1 seed in the Central Regional of the NCAA Tournament, entering with a mark of 30-1. The Tigers defeated conference foe Pittsburg State in the regional quarterfinals, then Minnesota State-Moorhead in the semifinals, before falling in the regional final to eventual national runner-up Southwestern Oklahoma State. The regional final appearance was the second in five years for the Tigers, matching the progress of the 2014-15 squad that also reached the 30-win mark under Hobson, going 30-4 overall. It also matched the 2014-15 team for the deepest run in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
The Tigers have now enjoyed eight consecutive 20-win seasons under Hobson’s guidance, making four NCAA Tournament appearances in that span, all within the last five years. In his 27 years of coaching women’s basketball teams at the collegiate level, Hobson has put together eight 30-win seasons, which includes two at FHSU, five at Hastings (Neb.) College, and one at Barton (Kan.) Community College. All three of his NAIA national championship squads at Hastings College won at least 30 games in a season. He has reached the 20-win plateau in a season 21 times his 27 years as a coach, which helps add up to an astonishing 650-200 (.765) overall coaching record.
Hobson became the all-time wins leader in FHSU history during the 2018-19 season, passing Helen Miles’ record of 217 wins accomplished in 15 years from 1971-86. Hobson went past the mark in just his 11th season, now with a record of 237-94 guiding the Tigers. He also tops the all-time win percentage list for FHSU coaches now at .716, with the closest on the list at .665.
The consistent run of success for Hobson’s teams at Fort Hays State has strongly impacted attendance at home games inside Gross Memorial Coliseum. Official attendance reports for 2018-19 will not be released until the summer of 2019, but Fort Hays State has ranked second in the nation in average home attendance the previous four years. It will likely move to five years in a row when the official reports are released. However, this year Fort Hays State by far led cumulative attendance at home with more than 47,000 fans witnessing 19 home games, nearly 14,000 more than any other Division II school can claim. The attendance numbers were capped with an average of more than 4,000 fans witnessing the Tigers’ three NCAA Regional Tournament games at Gross Memorial Coliseum. More than 5,000 attended the Central Regional Final.
This Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year honor gives Hobson 17 Coach of the Year honors in his 27-year history as a collegiate head coach. This is his third Coach of the Year honor for 2018-19, also named MIAA Coach of the Year and WBCA Central Region Coach of the Year. He was also a finalist for WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year.