Ohio Bobcats



Ohio Bobcats Highlights

General Team Information:

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Mid-American Conference 

Past Conferences: MAC, Ind

City: Athens, Ohio 

Stadium: Convocation Center

NCAA Tournaments: 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1983, 1985, 1994, 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2021.


National Championships: 0

Conference Titles: 7

Team History

With 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, Ohio Bobcats men’s basketball has had a plethora of success than most of the teams in the MAC. This would be the second-most appearances in the conference. The program’s first season dates back to 1907-1908. From 1912-1949, the team has gone through seven coaching changes.

After being an individual team for quite some time, Ohio’s first run in the Mid-American Conference came in the 1946-1947 season. As expected, success didn’t come right away, since head coach William Trautwein and the Bobcats sought to take on a new challenge during his last three years. As the Bobcats entered the MAC, they finished 13–10 in their first season and 10–10 in their second. During Trautwein’s final season, the team went 6–16.

Even with the coaching change, success was hard to come by; his first season was lackluster since the program went 6-14. His first breakout season would come during the 1954-1955 season with a 16-5 record. The first tournament came in 1959-1960 when they won their first conference title and went to the dance. In the following season, Synder and the Cats achieved the same feat with a 17-7 record.

During the 1963-1964 season, the team went 21-6, including 10-2 in conference play. The program had some major wins in the tournament which included the Louisville Cardinals and the No. 4-seeded Kentucky Wildcats. Eventually, they lost to the #2-ranked Michigan Wolverines in the Elite 8. Under Synder’s leadership, the team was able to punch their ticket to the tournament four more times, since he was dubbed “Gentleman Jim”.

His assistant and immediate successor Dale Bandy struggled to get the team to the promised land as 69-89 from 1975-1980. Danny Nee led the program to two conference titles and a conference championship in 1985, which resulted in two tournament appearances. After leaving the program, he became the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

From 2000 On

After 1994, the program would have to wait until the 2004-2005 season under Tim O’Shea. The Bobcats’ season ended in the first round despite a second-half comeback against SEC champion Florida. 

Current Akron Zips head coach John Groce was the next in line for the Bobcats from 2008 to 2012. After finishing the regular season with a 17-14 overall record and a 7-9 MAC record, the Bobcats earned the ninth seed in their conference tournament. As a result of their four-game winning streak in the conference tournament, the MAC earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

They were able to upset the 3rd-seeded and 12th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas. In 2012,  the program was able to pull major upsets against Michigan and South Florida. Their run came to an end in the Sweet 16 against top-seeded UNC. Due to his success, Gorce left the program to coach the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Under Jim Christian and Saul Phillips, Ohio failed to make any major improvements to make the Tournament. The team is currently coached by Jeff Boals.

In 2021 the team had a 17-8 record including three wins in the MAC tournament. They received the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament as the No. 13 seed in the West region and were able to upset Virginia before losing to Creighton in the second round. The Ohio Bobcats team stats were great against the Virginia Cavaliers; they led most of the major categories besides steals.

The Bobcats started the 2021-2022 season hot but couldn’t maintain it; thus, they missed the NCAA tournament. The odds of the Bobcats making the tournament in the 2022-23 season are strong if they can maintain a strong start to the season. Jeff Boals will lead the charge once again; thus, they will have solid NCAAB odds to make the tournament.

All-Time Records

Points Scored

    • Dave Jamerson 2,336
    • Paul Graham 2,170
    • Gary Trent 2,108


    • Brandon Hunter 1103
    • Leon Williams 1090
    • Gary Trent 1050


    • D.J. Cooper 934
    • Dennis Whitaker 651
    • Paul Baron 496


    • D.J. Cooper 327
    • Sonny Troutman 259
    • Dennis Whitaker 197


What Was the Best Season in Program History?

The best season in the program’s history was the 1963-64 season, where they went 21-6. The Bobcats lost to the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite 8 when they pulled upsets against the Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?

James Synder had 354 wins during his tenure as head coach of the Bobcats and was dubbed “Gentleman Jim.” Larry Hunter is the next in line with 204 wins.

Who Is the Latest Player to Be Drafted From the Program?

Jason Preston is the latest to be drafted from the program in the second round, pick 33 of the 2021 Draft; his story is very unique. During the summer, he started college classes as a regular student so he could compete in local tournaments during his free time. He caught the attention of a few college scouts that recommended a year of prep school and enrolled in Believe Prep Academy in Athens, Tennessee.

As a result, he joined the team with the most playing time, the C-level team. In addition, he grew four inches, which helped him improve his game. He still wasn’t getting a single D1 offer until he made his highlight video showcasing his talents. Surprisingly, he received an offer from the Ohio Bobcats.

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