The Oberlin College men’s basketball team
will look drastically different in the 2002-2003 season.
For the third time in the past four seasons, the team will have
a new head coach. This season, the team will be under the leadership
of Frank “Happy” Dobbs. Dobbs brings with him two experienced
assistant coaches in Anthony Jackson and Frank Gioffre.
Dobbs has an extremely impressive coaching resume and had an equally
impressive college career. He was a four-year starter and appeared
in the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons. His previous coaching
jobs included assistant coach at Cleveland State University and
head coach at Brown University for 10 seasons. Dobbs played Division
I basketball at Villanova University and was eventually drafted
by the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA.
Jackson, a former NBA Developmental League and European Professional
player, brings a knowledge unparalleled by many other programs around
the country. Gioffre has coached extremely successful high school
teams in Huron, Ohio, for a number of years and brings a competitive
hard-nose attitude to the players.
“I feel good about the season. It is not a rebuilding year
but a season that we are going to try and improve every game,”
At the beginning of the season, the team looked to be in place and
ready for a move in the conference standings, but so far the season
has been anything but easy. With the recent departures of four players
from last year’s team, and the suspension of two players for
the tournament hosted at Capital University this weekend, the Yeomen
will only have seven eligible players for competition.
“We lost some quickness [with the players that quit], but
we are trying to implement a defensive scheme. Defense is something
that we can control,” Dobbs said.
The theme for this year’s team will be to improve with each
game and play aggressive defense that will hold opponents down and
frustrate them on the offensive side of the ball. Although Dobbs
does not know a lot about the competition at the Division III level,
he will get a good taste of it this weekend if they have to play
Capital, which was ranked eighth in the country in the preseason
“I am curious to see the competition at the Division III level,”
In the first couple of weeks of practice, Dobbs has attempted to
get across to his players that defense wins games. Many players
had to adapt to new positions assigned by him at the beginning of
“We had to re-adjust ourselves but now people are comfortable
with their roles,” Dobbs said.
This season, the team will have four seniors who have all been a
vital part of the team in their time at Oberlin. Jon MacDonald,
Justin Perkins, Djordje Eremic and Stephan Thomas will see a lot
of playing time this season and are looked upon as the leaders for
The team will open their season today at Capital University when
they face Concordia University in Columbus, Ohio. Win or lose, the
team will have another game in Columbus on Saturday.
After this weekend’s tournament, Oberlin will travel to Cleveland,
Ohio to face Notre Dame College of Ohio in a non conference game
on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Dobbs, who is excited about the start of the
season, looks forward to the first competition of the year.
“I will have a good idea of where we stand after this tournament,”
Dobbs, who is no stranger to rebuilding a program, is looking forward
to the challenges that face him.
“Oberlin has a lot to offer. We have the chance to bring in
some great student athletes,” Dobbs said.