Ben Jobe, the revered coach who led Southern to four SWAC Men’s Basketball Championships including three consecutive from 1987-89 and another in 1993, died Friday at the age of 84.
Jobe was a decorated coach throughout the Southwestern Athletic Conference, well known for guiding the Jaguars to their 1993 upset victory as a No. 13 seed over No. 4 seed and ACC champion Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament after trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half.
Jobe coached eight teams over a span of 31 seasons, winning at a 61 percent rate and accumulating 524 victories. But his longest tenure of 12 seasons was at Southern. In two stints with the Jaguars (1986-96; 2001-03) in which he coached such notable athletes as Avery Johnson and Bobby Phills, Jobe had a 209-141 record.
Jobe also coached at Tuskegee, Talladega, Alabama State, South Carolina State, Denver and Alabama A&M. Jobe briefly served as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets. Most recently, he served as a scout for the New York Knicks.
Many in the basketball world reached out on social media to express their condolences including Johnson, who currently coaches the University of Alabama men’s basketball team, and Knicks general manager Steve Mills.
Johnson tweeted, “Lost a great man today! My college coach and mentor Ben Jobe passed away at home! I loved him so much! #RIP #SU1988.”
Mills released a statement from the Knicks PR twitter handle that read, “Statement from Knicks GM Steve Mills on the passing of NBA scout Ben Jobe: Ben Jobe will be sorely missed. His wisdom, perspective and honestly were just a few of the traits that made him a great member of the Knicks family.”
His impact on basketball is reflected in the presentation of the Ben Jobe Award, which annually goes to the top minority coach in Division I basketball.
“He was one of those coaches who was a trailblazer, broke down a lot of barriers,” legendary Southern baseball coach Roger Cador said.
“He came out of that system at historically black schools that taught you that you had to make the right first impression,” Cador said. “I know about it, because I came out of the same system. Ben lived it to the fullest. I’m sure he impacted a lot of young men’s lives, on and off the floor. Even in my 40s, I was impressed. I thought it was a thing of beauty.”
Parts of this report can be credited to The Advocate newspaper.