Bob Hoffman got something of an early birthday present this week: a contract extension.
Mercer announced Tuesday afternoon that it had given its men’s basketball coach a two-year extension, locking him in through the 2014-15 season.
“It brings it back to five (years) essentially, which is great,” said Hoffman, who turns 53 on July 19. “We’ve been working a little while on it. It just took a little while, the wording and stuff.
“It’s a great thing. I really like it here, and I think we have lots of things ahead to get accomplished still.”
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Hoffman was hired in March 2008 and signed a five-year contract then. As a private school, Mercer isn’t required to release salary information.
That contract would be up after the 2012-13 season.
The move comes only a few weeks after head women’s coach Janell Jones resigned after being offered only a one-year contract with her original three-year contract expiring at the end of this month.
Hoffman’s team finished the regular season 14-16 but won two games on its home floor in the A-Sun tournament and lost 72-66 to East Tennessee State in the tournament championship.
The Bears are 33-32 under Hoffman and face a rebuilding season with the departures of starters James Florence, Danny Emerson and E.J. Kusnyer, who teamed for 56.1 percent of Mercer’s scoring last season as well as 41 percent of its assists and 46.5 percent of the rebounding.
Kusnyer, one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters, started every game while Florence missed two and Emerson one.
The Bears have signed eight players in the two signing periods, including 6-foot-11 center Monty Brown from Connecticut last week.
Hoffman also added Doug Esleeck to the coaching staff in May, replacing Mark Osina, who returned to coach in Texas.
Hoffman declined comment if a raise was involved, saying the commitment was the most important aspect of the extension.
“It was more about the years,” Hoffman said. “Any time, in our business, it’s just a great thing to have an opportunity to be at a place you like and you enjoy.
“We’ve got freshman coming in, and they’re able to see that (the extension) as a tremendous thing for our program, and for all the young men we’re recruiting right now, too.”