The Hahn File
Billy Hahn, a coaching veteran of 32 years, enters his third season as assistant basketball coach at West Virginia University. “Obviously, Billy has a wealth of experience and contacts to enable us to better recruit the East as well as the Midwest,” says coach Bob Huggins. “I’ve always had tremendous respect for Billy as a player and for the last 30-plus years as a coach. It’s great to have him back to West Virginia, where he started his coaching career at Morris Harvey.”
Hahn spent the majority of his coaching career at Maryland, where he was an assistant to Gary Williams for 12 seasons from 1989-2001. While at Maryland, the Terps went to the NCAA tournament a school-record eight straight years, including the 2001 Final Four. In 2002, the season after Hahn left for a head coaching job at La Salle, the Terps won the national championship with many of Hahn’s recruits. For his work, Williams and the Maryland basketball program presented Hahn with a championship ring. While at Maryland, the Terps finished fourth or higher in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season standings in eight consecutive seasons, and established then-school records for overall victories (28 in 1999) and ACC victories in a season (13 in 1999).
Hahn was promoted to associate head coach in 1997 and served as one of Maryland’s primary recruiters and was the lead scout in addition to his on-the-floor coaching and administrative duties. He recruited and coached three NBA Lottery picks (Walt Williams, Joe Smith and Steve Francis) and was named one of the top 10 recruiters in the eastern United States by Eastern Basketball.
“Bob Huggins and I go way back,” says Hahn. “When I was the head coach at Ohio and he was the head coach at Akron, I used to schedule him every year. I did the same thing when I was at La Salle and he was at Cincinnati. I knew to play Bob’s teams, you had to be tough-minded and prepare a certain way to be successful against him. By playing Bob and his teams, it made our teams better.
“Now I’ve come full circle, back to West Virginia where I got my start some 30 years ago. This is a dream come true. I’ve always respected Bob and we’ve always maintained a professional relationship.”
Hahn began his coaching career in 1975 in West Virginia as an assistant coach to Rich Meckfessel at Morris Harvey College. He then served as an assistant coach to Dave Pritchett at Davidson for one year before moving on to serve as an assistant coach at Rhode Island for Jack Kraft from 1977-80. During his time at URI, the Rams went to the NCAA tournament in 1978 and NIT in 1979.
In 1980, Hahn began a six-year stint as an assistant coach at Ohio University under Danny Nee. At Ohio, the Bobcats won the Mid-American Conference championship in 1983 and 1985, advancing to the NCAA tournament in both of those years. The Bobcats also went to the NIT in 1986.
Hahn was named head coach at Ohio University in 1986 and coached the Bobcats for three years until 1989, leading them to the MAC championship game in 1988. During his career there, he recruited and coached the school’s all-time leading scorer in Dave Jamerson. Hahn recruited and coached Paul Graham, the MAC player of the year in 1989.
After serving as an assistant at Maryland for 12 years, Hahn served as head men’s basketball coach at La Salle for three years from 2001-04. In recent years, Hahn has been a director of the Hoop Group, a New Jersey-based recruiting and camp service, and also has served as a college basketball television analyst.
Hahn has coached 20 NBA players during his career: Sly Williams, Paul Graham, Dave Jamerson, Tony Massenburg, Jerrod Mustaf, Walt Williams, Keith Booth, Joe Smith, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Laron Profit, Terence Morris, Obinna Ekezie, Steve Francis, Chris Wilcox, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, Steven Smith, Rasual Butler and Joe Alexander.
Hahn, 55, earned his bachelor’s degree in distributive education with a minor in business administration from Maryland in 1975. While there, he was a three-year varsity letterwinner under Lefty Driesell on three of the best basketball teams Maryland has fielded. He was a freshman in 1971-72 when the Terps won the National Invitation Tournament; he was a key reserve on the team that lost what is considered to be the greatest game in ACC history (Maryland’s 103-100 overtime setback against NC State in 1974). He captained the team his senior year.
Hahn is one of only two players in Maryland basketball history to play and coach in the NCAA tournament. He was also a part of two of the winningest teams in school history. He played on Maryland’s 1974-75 team that finished with a 24-5 record (.828 winning percentage) and coached the 1998-99 team that won a then-school record 28 games and went 28-6 (.824 winning percentage).
A native of Mishawaka, Ind., who attended Penn High, Hahn and his wife, Kathi, have been married since 1976. They have two children, a son, Matthew (31), an assistant basketball coach at Vermont, and a daughter, Ashley (25), a kindergarten teacher in Maryland.