Men’s Basketball Head Coach Resigns
On Thursday, March 30, men’s head basketball coach and assistant athletic director Frank “Happy” Dobbs resigned after four years at the college. Despite tallying a 15-84 record since his arrival in 2002, Dobbs made positive contributions to Oberlin athletics through his administrative duties in basketball and as assistant director of athletics. Dobbs was previously an assistant coach at Cleveland State University.
The resignation occurred during spring break, surprising the Oberlin community. Most notably stunned was assistant basketball coach Isaiah Cavaco, who is now the interim head coach. “It caught me off guard. I wondered about the uncertainty of the whole program,” said Cavaco.
Despite this surprise move, Cavaco knows that Dobbs’ vast coaching experience, including being the head coach at Brown University (1991-1999), an assistant at Boston College (1988-91) and an assistant at Dartmouth College (1984-1988), will help him find a new job. “He’s been in the business a long time. He’s going to land somewhere,” said Cavaco.
Dobbs has an array of coaching experience which followed his impressive playing career. He was a four-year starter at Villanova University, where the team made it to the NCAA tournament each year, making two sweet sixteen and two elite eight appearances. He was also drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA in 1984 in the eighth round.
Coach, player and student alike will miss Dobbs’ knowledge and personality. As Cavaco stated, “He had the kind of personality that welcomed you into the circle and made you feel comfortable right away. I’m going to miss all his stories too.”
An up and coming coach, Cavaco graduated from Yale where he played Division I basketball for four years. He now takes the reins of a program after being the understudy for two seasons. Though he has been an assistant at John Carroll University, Ohio University and Yale, Cavaco said that he has learned a lot from Dobbs about the “process of Oberlin, such as going through admissions and other administrative duties” in the job, while also increasing his ability to work with individuals.
The basketball players still remain positive over Dobbs’ departure. “He is a great guy,” said first-year Noah Goldman. “He helped me a lot in my first year of college, adapting and growing as a person.” Goldman developed a strong relationship with Dobbs, going to his office on a regular basis to talk. “His office was always open and he was always willing to help or guide you in the right direction,” said Goldman.
Goldman is very appreciative of all that Dobbs did for him and the team. On one occasion, Dobbs lent his shoes to the first-year when his pair had fallen apart during practice. Despite the departure of Dobbs (his official last day is June 30), Goldman stated that he “plans to still keep in touch.”
Looking to the year ahead, the men’s basketball program has many bright spots. Goldman said that the experience of this past year has helped the Yeomen and himself, and they are eager to prove their worth. “With a year under our belt and having tasted the College, our team is very hungry and excited about what we can do next year,” said Cavaco.
Cavaco believes this team, with all of its players returning, has what it
takes to have an impact in the NCAC next season. Whatever happens with the
search for a new head coach, whether Cavaco remains in the position or Oberlin
finds a new coach, he is adamant about changing the mentality of this team in
the future. “I want them to believe that they can do great things. They
don’t have to feel inferior to anyone else. They are just as capable as
everyone else in the league,” stated Cavaco.