Old Rochester’s Bob Hohne Stepping Down from Lady Bulldogs Basketball
Old Rochester Regional High School girls basketball coach Bob Hohne was right at home tonight. He should be. It was playoff basketball time.
Since 1978, Hohne has been at the helm of the ORR girls basketball team. He led them to the state basketball tournament 38 out of his 42 seasons. High school playoff basketball is just what this guy does. He's also done a whole lot of winning. Tonight marked win No. 650 for Hohne in his 923 games with Old Rochester. I checked the calculator on my iPhone. That's over 70 percent. Not too shabby.
While there's been quiet chatter all season about a change of direction for the Lady Bulldogs coaching staff, there had been no formal announcement until tonight. Old Rochester honored Hohne before the game, bringing back former players and coaches from the past 42 years. You could tell that the praise was making the legendary coach uncomfortable. He sat fidgeting on the home team bench as players from state championship teams of yesteryear joked about how much the coach has softened over the years by letting the girls choose their own warmup music. Coaches like Hohne don't like that kind of attention. They only like the wins.
Hohne immediately deflected the spotlight.
"I've said I've had a very successful career because I've had the horses to pull the wagon," he said. "It's made my job a lot easier."
Hohne is a throwback to the types of basketball coaches that inspired Gene Hackman's Norman Dale character in the movie Hoosiers. There's a lot of jumping around, a lot of roaming onto the court. A lot of hand motions. And a whole lot of yelling.
We got a sample of that yelling tonight as the heavily favored Old Rochester Bulldogs fell behind in the second quarter. Heading into halftime, however, ORR scored 15 unanswered points and never looked back. Hohne won his 650th, and the Bulldogs earned a chance to play another home playoff game. The Bulldogs will host New Mission Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
ORR Athletic Director Bill Tilden says that he thinks there will be plenty of local coaches interested in replacing Hohne, especially with the group of young talent on the team.
"Bob has done a tremendous job, and runs a great summer league that I would prefer to see continue," Tilden said. "Hiring a new basketball coach will be a top priority after the season ends."
I caught up with the coach on the court tonight after the game. I asked him what he'll do next winter. Will he be in the stands cheering for the Lady Bulldogs?
"Well, if there's a job opportunity somewhere, I might be coaching somewhere else," he said.
Coaches like Hohne don't retire that easily. After all, it's only been 42 years.