GENEVA, N.Y. — Hobart College director of athletics Mike Hanna announced that Tim Sweeney, men’s basketball associate head coach at Elon, will serve as the 19th head coach of the Statesmen basketball program.
“Tim Sweeney has had the very good fortune of serving at outstanding academic institutions under the watchful eyes of exceptional head coaches and mentors,” Hanna said.
Sweeney succeeds Neer, who retired following his 37th season as a collegiate head coach. Neer was 66-20 in three seasons at Hobart and 629-346 overall. Sweeney played for and served as an assistant coach for Neer at Rochester (N.Y.) between 1999 and 2006.
“I am incredibly excited to be joining the Hobart and William Smith community,” Sweeney said. “It’s a place that competes for championships but just as importantly is committed to providing the best experience possible to its student-athletes. Hobart basketball has achieved great success, in many areas, and I look forward to leading our program in its next chapter.”
Sweeney played a key role in rebuilding the Elon program during the past five seasons. He joined the Phoenix following one season as an assistant coach at Bucknell. Elon won just nine games in 2009-10, but improved each season on its way to a 21-12 mark in 2012-13. The Phoenix won the Southern Conference North Division championship that season and made the program’s first NCAA Division I postseason appearance, playing in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. That team’s success earned him a promotion from assistant coach to associate head coach. Last season, Elon went 18-14. The program’s 39 wins in the past two years is the best two-year mark in the Phoenix’s DI era.
During his time at Elon, Sweeney helped coach 11 All-SoCon players and six 1,000-point scorers.
“Tim Sweeney is ready for the next step in his career and we are thrilled Hobart feels the same way,” Elon head coach Matt Matheny said. “Tim has played a key role in the growth of our program over the last five years. He is extremely hard-working and detail-oriented in addition to being an intelligent basketball coach. Tim is ready to run his own program and we wish him the very best.”
Prior to coaching at Bucknell, Sweeney served two seasons as an assistant coach at Davidson. The Wildcats went an impressive 58-12 in those two seasons, winning back-to-back Southern Conference championships. Led by current Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry, Davidson reached the Elite Eight in 2008.
Sweeney’s coaching career began alongside the man he replaces, Neer. Following a very successful playing career at Rochester, Sweeney joined the Yellowjackets’ coaching staff as an assistant coach. In his first season on the bench, UR went 25-2, won the University Athletic Association with a 13-1 mark, and reached the Round of 16 of the NCAA Division III Championship. Neer, Sweeney and the rest of the Rochester coaches were named the 2002-03 UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.
The next season, the Yellowjackets produced a 25-5 mark, capturing the UAA title with a 12-2 mark and finished runner-up in the NCAA tournament. In three years under Neer’s tutelage, Sweeney helped Rochester to a 66-16 record.
An exceptional student and athlete, Sweeney graduated cum laude from UR in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A four-year starter, Sweeney ran the point for the Yellowjackets, earning four All-UAA honors and three UAA All-Academic awards. Sweeney served as a team captain as a junior and a senior, guiding UR to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. The 2001-02 squad finished the year with a 24-6 mark and advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
Sweeney ranks among the all-time best in Rochester history. When he graduated, he held the record for most games started in a career (106, currently tied for second) and ranked fourth in career 3-pointers made (175, sixth), seventh in career assists (364, 10th), seventh in career 3-point field-goal percentage (.403, 13th), eighth in career free-throw percentage (.807, 10th) and 10th in career steals (99, 16th).
Sweeney inherits a program that has posted four consecutive 20-win seasons, won four consecutive Liberty League regular-season championships, captured back-to-back Liberty League tournament titles and has appeared in three consecutive NCAA tournaments. The Statesmen will return three starters — seniors Trey Blanding, Andrew Hoy and Connor Rehbaum — but will be without the recently graduated Richie Bonney and Joe Gibbons, both of whom scored more than 1,000 points in their Hobart careers.