Mike Neer’s retirement lasted 16 months. The former Washington and Lee basketball Hall of Famer, a member of the Class of 1970, is headed back to the hardwood this winter as the new head coach at Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y.
In April 2010, Mike stepped down after 34 years as the coach at the University of Rochester, where his teams won a national NCAA Division III title in 1990 and he had compiled the ninth best record among active Division III coaches.
As a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle noted, Mike admitted when he retired that he wasn’t completely sure of the decision. Then he went through a season away from the game. That only made it worse.
In an interview with Rochester sports writer Jim Mandelaro after the Hobart announcement, Mike described what it was like last winter when he visited practices run by some of his former assistant coaches who are now leading programs at Allegheny College, Rhodes Island and Villanova. “”They’d invite me to practices, and I was like the grandparent holding the baby,” Mike said. “It felt good, and then I got to hand it back.” He also called getting the call from Hobart to return to the bench “Santa in the chimney in August.”
At the 2011 National Association of Basketball Coaches, Mike received the NABC’s Outstanding Service Award.