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Mercer fires Hoffman as coach after 11 seasons

Mercer has fired men's basketball coach Bob Hoffman, the school announced Monday.

Athletic director Jim Cole informed Hoffman on Monday morning after the Bears' season ended Saturday in the Southern Conference quarterfinals.

"Coach Hoffman has made an indelible mark on the Mercer basketball program," Cole said in a statement. "Bob always ran his program and mentored his student-athletes in a first-class manner that represented our university well.

"Personally, I don't know of two better people than Bob and [wife Kelli]. I know I speak for all Bears in thanking them for the time and effort that they devoted to Mercer University. Bob, his staff and his student-athletes have laid a foundation that our program can build upon and ultimately, I believe, consistently compete for conference championships and national recognition."

Hoffman coached Mercer for 11 seasons, leading the Bears to two regular-season championships and six postseason appearances -- including an NCAA tournament berth in 2014. Mercer was given a 14-seed after winning the Atlantic Sun regular-season and tournament titles and proceeded to upset 3-seed Duke 78-71.

Hoffman was 198-145 in his first 10 seasons at the helm, but Mercer struggled mightily this season, finishing 11-20 overall and 6-12 in conference play. It was the worst season of Hoffman's tenure.

"We will need the support of the entire Mercer family as we take our men's basketball program in a new direction," Cole said. "I am confident that we will quickly identify the right leader to meet the high expectations for Bears basketball."