Contact CU Independent News Editor Andrew Haubner at Andrew.Haubner@Colorado.edu
It was only right that Bob Hofman’s final game as a head coach happened at the Coors Events Center.
It was here, in Boulder, where he started his collegiate career under legendary coach Sox Walseth. It was here, in Boulder, where he spent the early ’80s as an assistant coach. And it was here, in Boulder, that he brought a set of decades old press clippings to show Tad Boyle how far the two of them have come.
“Rick Reilly was the beat writer then,” Hofman says as he pulls out the newspaper clipping. “They wrote an article about Tad and an article about us in the same paper. We’ve been fighting forever about who had the better team, his team that won the state in 4A or our team that won the state in 5A.”
Since those early days, Boyle has become the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, while Hofman has become the only coach in the state to be the all-time winningest coach of two schools (Fort Lewis and Western State). Under his tenure, his Skyhawks teams have won three RMAC regular season championships, four postseason titles, and seven NCAA Division II playoff trips. But his heart, to a degree, remains in Boulder, and Boulder thinks fondly of him. So much so, that the lower gym at the Coors Events Center will be renamed to honor the legendary coach.
While he holds the position of head coach emeritus at Fort Lewis, this was the first and only game he will be the main skipper for this season, ending a cycle that started at the University of Colorado. Bob Pietrack has taken over since the beginning of the year, and has been with the Skyhawks long enough to ensure a smooth transition.
“It was very comfortable just to be able to coach a game with him as co-head coaches,” describes Pietrack. “It was a thrill for me. You’re talking about the RMAC all-time winningest coach in victories.”
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle echoes those sentiments, lauding the former Buffalo player and Skyhawk coach on an illustrious career.
“The reason we played this game was for Bob Hofman,” explains Boyle. “There’s no one more important to me than former players, and if you can honor a coach who’s on 400-plus games in their career and loves the University of Colorado like Coach Hofman does, to me you want to honor those people since there’s not enough of them around.”
Unfortunately, there will be one less of that breed of coach starting next season. Bob Hofman will have retired, but he will always be remembered for his time here at CU and the seven other schools that he has coached. One of the first people to come down and congratulate him and his confidante, George Boedecker Jr., on a great career was Colorado Athletic Director Rick George. Boedecker, who is the founder of Crocs and one of CU’s biggest athletic benefactors, was instrumental in honoring Hofman tonight, but not without a little bit of friendly competition.
“I called an upset in front of Rick George and Tad last night, and when Rick got here we were up,” says Boedecker with a laugh. “he said I tightened him up a bit which is what I had hoped to do with all of the great players that Colorado has.”
What was an exhibition for the Skyhawks and one of the easier non-conference games for CU was actually a fun reunion for coaches and administrators, honoring one of the best coaches in the state of Colorado. While his coaching career may be over, Hofman still has some things that he has to see through.
“I’m going to Army-Navy next week,” he says. “It’s one of those bucket list things and I finally have the time to do stuff like that.”
As Fort Lewis and Colorado continue their seasons, Hofman’s influence will stick with the players and coaches alike, and any time CU players step into the lower gymnasium of the Coors Events Center, it will bear his namesake, a testament to the man, the player and the coach.