ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio University Director of Athletics Jim Schaus has named Bob Boldon as the new head coach of the Ohio Women’s Basketball Program at a news conference on Thursday. With six years of head coaching experience, Boldon becomes the 10th head coach in school history.
Boldon comes to Athens after spending the last three years of his head coaching career at Youngstown State. The Northeast Ohio native inherited a program which had posted a 0-30 record during the 2009-10 season and turned it into a Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) participant at the end of the 2012-13 season, posting two double-digit win seasons and one 23-win campaign along the way.
“I think the history of Ohio University as an institution is incredibly impressive,” Boldon said. “This is a place that students want to be a part of and I think it is an institution that any athlete would be proud to attend, so I just think that makes a perfect combination for both the student and the athlete. I think Ohio University is a great place to go to school and I think it is going to be a great place to work. The Mid-American Conference is a very well-respected league throughout the state of Ohio as well as nationally and I look forward to competing in this league.”
Youngstown State’s 2012-13 season was arguably the program’s best in 15 years and included a first-round victory in the WNIT. Boldon led the Penguins to a 23-10 mark (11-5 Horizon) last season en route to earning Horizon League Coach of the Year honors. In his three seasons of rebuilding Youngstown State, Boldon posted a 39-54 (.419) overall record in which included a 19-33 (.365) mark in league play. In six years as a head coach at both the NCAA and NAIA level, Boldon has gone 98-86 (.533).
“Bob Boldon is the perfect fit for Ohio,” said Ohio University Athletics Director Jim Schaus. “He has successful head coaching experience, has rebuilt programs and has won wherever he has been. He is from Ohio and knows our state well, he has tremendous energy and passion for his craft and is great with people. Bob will also bring a very exciting, offensive style of play which will be enjoyed by fans. A new era of Ohio Women’s Basketball is here and I can’t wait for him to get started!”
Boldon came to Youngstown with an outstanding resume as a player and an impressive track record as a collegiate coach for 13 seasons. Prior to his time in Youngstown, Boldon spent three successful seasons as a collegiate head coach and 10 years as a college assistant. Five of those 10 years were at the Division I level, including two seasons at Akron. Two of the coaches he worked with – Jerry Scheve and Karl Smesko – have been voted national coaches of the year.
In his head coaching stint prior to YSU, Boldon orchestrated the best season in school history at Lambuth University, a NAIA school located in Jackson, Tenn. He led the Eagles in 2008-09 to school bests with 29 wins, a final No. 3 national ranking and an .853 winning percentage. Lambuth was the runner-up for the national title, and Boldon was recognized as the Association of Independent Institutions Coach of the Year after the regular season and A.I.I. tournament.
At the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Boldon showed he can rebuild a program as he helped lead a major improvement for the Division II Cotton Blossoms in the Gulf South Conference. He inherited a team that went 1-15 in GSC play the year prior to his arrival, and he immediately brought them up to an 8-8 mark, which was the school's best conference record in five years. In his two seasons at UAM, the Cotton Blossoms finished third in the GSC each year, made consecutive conference tournament appearances and earned the school's first conference tournament victory since 1998.
Although Boldon was an assistant coach at seven different institutions, he served with only three head coaches and moved along with them as they received better opportunities. He spent four seasons with Smesko, the current head women's basketball coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, and five with Jodi Kest, who is the head coach at Akron.
Boldon and Smesko teamed up for a combined record of 85-34 over four seasons, which includes one year at FGCU, two years at IPFW and another at Walsh.
In 2009-10, FGCU went 24-7 and earned an invitation to compete in the WNIT. The Eagles were 17-3 in the Atlantic Sun and went a perfect 14-0 in home contests. Boldon and Smesko were part of a massive rebuilding project at IPFW as the Mastadons competed at the Division II level. IPFW was 2-24 the season before Boldon arrived on campus, and the Mastadons went 13-14 and 19-8 in the two years he was on the bench. Boldon and Smesko first worked together in 1997-98 at Boldon's alma mater, Walsh. The Cavaliers won the NAIA Division II National Championship that season behind a 29-5 record, and Smesko was recognized as the national coach of the year with Boldon's assistance. That Walsh team was part of the 2012 Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.
With Kest, Boldon was the top assistant coach at Akron for two seasons from 2006 to 2008. There, he helped lay the foundation for Akron to be competitive again in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips had won eight games combined in the two years before Boldon and Kest arrived on campus, and they won 10 games in the first season with Boldon on board. With some of Boldon's recruits, Akron went 18-14 in 2009-10 and advanced to the MAC Tournament semifinals.
Boldon also spent two seasons with Kest at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi from 2002 to 2004, leading the Islanders to a combined 34-21 record as a Division I Independent. Boldon and Kest first worked together at Gannon in 2001-02 when the Lady Knights went 20-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Boldon was an assistant at Wilmington College with Jerry Scheve in 1998-99, helping to lead the Quakers to a 20-4 record and regular season and tournament titles.
Boldon, a 37-year-old native of Louisville, Ohio, graduated from Walsh in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. As a student-athlete, he was a two-time All-America selection as a point guard and helped lead the Cavaliers to the Final Four of the NAIA Tournament. A four-year starter, he remains the school record holder in assists (775) while also ranking fourth in scoring with 1,694 points. Boldon was a 2008 inductee to Walsh's Wall of Fame, and his accomplishments were celebrated as one of the program’s top 50 players in its 50-year history in 2012.
He earned his master's degree in liberal studies from Indiana in 2003.
Bob Boldon’s Career Timeline 1997-98: Assistant, Walsh 1998-99: Assistant, Wilmington 1999-01: Assistant, IPFW 2001-02: Assistant, Gannon 2002-04: Assistant, Texas A&M Corpus Christi 2004-05: Head Coach, Arkansas-Monticello 2006-07: Assistant, Akron 2008-09: Head Coach, Lambuth 2009-10: Assistant, Florida Gulf Coast 2010-12: Head Coach, Youngstown State
What People Are Saying About Bob Boldon "Bob Boldon is a terrific hire at Ohio University. His teams are extremely well coached and his work ethic on the recruiting trails are second to none. It wasn't surprising to see the success he had in such a short time at Youngstown State. It won't be long before he has Ohio University contending for MAC championships.”
~Suzy Merchant, Michigan State University – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“Bob is a great hire for Ohio University and for the Mid-American Conference. He is one of the up-and-coming young coaches in the game, and the players at Ohio are going to love playing for him. I am very happy for Bob and can say with certainty that he will continue to succeed. He has worked extremely hard to get to this point in his career and he deserves this opportunity."
~Jodi Kest, University of Akron – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“Bob Boldon is a vibrant, young coach who has burst onto the women’s basketball scene. He had tremendous success at YSU and I project that confidence and success will continue at Ohio.”
~Agnus Berenato, former Pitt head coach
“I had the opportunity to work with Bob (Boldon) at three different institutions and I believe he is one of the best coaches in the nation. He has a great track record for turning programs around very quickly. He has a great relationship with his players and he is always able to get the most out of them. This really is a tremendous hire for Ohio University.”
~Karl Smesko, Florida Gulf Coast University – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“I can’t say enough good things about him. He really got his players to believe in his system and I think that says a lot about him as a coach. He will be a great asset to not only the Ohio University Athletics Department, but also the local community.”
~Alfreeda Goff – Horizon League Senior Associate Commissioner