Set to start his 15th year at the helm of the Keene State College men’s basketball program, Rob Colbert is looking forward to the challenge of developing the talents of a strong core of returning players and a talented group of newcomers into a team that will challenge for the Little East Conference championship this season.
The Owls have become precariously close to capturing the title the past three years, including last season, when they upset second seed Eastern Conn. 79-73 in the semifinal-round before falling to eventual champ Rhode Island College (60-53) in the finals.
Although the Owls might have to fly under the radar as they regroup after losing four starters, including three All-LEC players, from last year’s squad, Colbert is confident of the team will improve and once again be in the tournament picture.
Under the direction of Colbert, a two-time LEC coach of the year, the Owls have enjoyed unprecedented success. During his tenure, Keene State has not only made 10 post-season appearances, and claimed four conference regular season titles, but captured a first-ever LEC championship and trip to the NCAA Elite-Eight in 2004 and advanced to the Sweet-16 in 2007. During this time, KSC has posted a 256-133 overall record and an impressive 130-66 mark in the LEC. In addition, the program has produced two All-Americans and three LEC Players of the Year, two LEC Rookies of the Year, 27 All-LEC players, and 12 1,000-point scorers, including three who reached the milestone last season.
That Keene State has become a top program under Colbert should come as no surprise. The Warwick, R.I., native coached at every level of college competition, including a two-year stint (1995-97) as an Owls' assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, prior to taking over as Keene State's 11th head coach in 1999. Already working as a high school coach as an undergraduate, Colbert was hired as an assistant coach at Bard College (Annandale, N.Y.) after he graduated from Marist College in 1992. He served for two years as the head men's coach at Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), before coming to Keene State in the fall of 1995.
During his initial stint on the KSC staff, Colbert had the opportunity to bring to the campus many of the players who helped the Owls make an immediate impact in the Little East. He then returned to his alma mater to further his coaching experience and came back to KSC two years later as the Keene State's head coach.
Coach Colbert directs the KSC Boys Basketball Camp each summer and the High Intensity Basketball Camp with former Keene High coach Phil Hebert. Colbert and his wife, Michelle, and sons Andrew and Jack reside in Swanzey, N.H.