Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Friday, May 6, 2011 4:57 p.m.

University confirms Lonergan hired as men’s basketball head coach

University of Vermont men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Photo courtesy University of Vermont

Mike Lonergan, the six-year head coach at the University of Vermont, will be the men’s basketball head coach next season, the University confirmed Friday.

Reports that GW offered Lonergan the contracted surfaced yesterday, but as of Friday afternoon, the head coach had yet to tell Vermont he is returning to D.C.

“The opportunity to return to my roots in the Washington, D.C. area and build a program at an exceptional school like George Washington was too good to pass up.  The combination of GW’s strong academics, commitment to excellence and athletics tradition make it an ideal position, and I am eager to get started.  I am committed to supporting and developing our student-athletes and building a program that will make GW proud,” Mike Lonergan said.

The men’s program has been searching for a head coach since Karl Hobbs was let go April 25 after a decade in the position. The University has declined to comment on the reason behind Hobbs’s departure, but said it intends to honor his contract in full.

Lonergan has ties to newly announced GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero, who served as commissioner of the America East Conference, the league that counts Vermont among its members.

He leaves Vermont as the coach with the third best record in program history, boasting a 126-68, .649 record. During the 2010-11 season, the Catamounts, who were predicted in pre-season polls to finish fifth in the America East, captured the league title, qualifying for the NIT and earning a 23-9 record. It was the program’s fourth straight season of at least 23 victories and earned Lonergan his second honor as America East Coach of the Year.

In the 2009-2010 season, Lonergan led Vermont to its fourth-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, falling to Syracuse in the first round. The Catamounts’ 25 wins in that season tied the school’s single-season win record.

Prior to coaching at Vermont, Lonergan served as the head men’s basketball coach at Catholic for 12 seasons. He lead Catholic to seven straight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, nine overall, finishing his career with a 251-88 (.740) record.

Lonergan will take helm of the Colonials as they come off of their best season in the past four years, with 17-14 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Atlantic 10 play. It was good enough for a tie for fourth place in the final conference standings, but GW closed the season on a down note, losing in the first round of the conference tournament to 12th seeded Saint Joseph’s.