Hofman returns to the bench

FLC men’s basketball coach cuts short his medical leave

Fort Lewis College men’s basketball head coach Bob Hofman wasn’t in the background for long. After addressing medical issues with his ear and shoulder, Hofman officially returned Wednesday after a week’s worth of time away from the program, just in time for a road trip to Denver. Enlarge photo

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo

Fort Lewis College men’s basketball head coach Bob Hofman wasn’t in the background for long. After addressing medical issues with his ear and shoulder, Hofman officially returned Wednesday after a week’s worth of time away from the program, just in time for a road trip to Denver.

Bob Hofman wasn’t gone from the game for long.

Then again, anybody who knows the longtime Fort Lewis College men’s basketball coach had to expect that he’d be back the second the doctors allowed.

Hofman took a medical leave of absence last week to deal with lingering problems with his shoulder and ear, and he returned from that leave Wednesday to take back the reins of the No. 17 Skyhawks.

It turns out that, according to FLC athletic director Gary Hunter, the hearing issues Hofman was experiencing easily were correctable, thus putting off an extended sabbatical for Hofman, who’s in his 16th year at the helm of the Skyhawks.

“In fact, he came in Monday. He found a doctor, and I guess it was a little old small 10-minute procedure within his ear, and whatever it was, they fixed it, and he’s hearing now and 100 percent,” Hunter said.

“We’re just delighted he’s back at full health and full speed.”

In his stead, the Skyhawks continued their upward trajectory. Associate head coach Bob Pietrack stepped in and helped FLC record two resounding home victories, the first two of his career as a head coach. The Skyhawks defeated New Mexico Highlands 81-60 on Friday before romping past Western New Mexico 86-47 on Saturday.

Hunter was very complimentary of Pietrack’s work in stepping in on short notice, while also lauding the contributions of FLC’s senior class in providing leadership in the absence of its head coach.

“I was very pleased,” Hunter said. “I thought Bob showed a lot of maturity and good judgment, and we were very pleased with the way he handled the team. And I was very pleased with the way the team responded.”

Hofman returns in time for a crucial weekend of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play. The Skyhawks will head to Denver to take on Regis on Friday before facing No. 2 Metro State on Saturday.

rowens@ durangoherald.com