Chris Gobrecht has a reputation for turning programs around.
Though the 2008-09 Bulldog squad was hampered by a multitude of
injuries, the 29-year Division I coaching veteran led her team to
an 11-17 record, the team’s second-highest win total in the
past seven seasons. 2008-09 also featured a landmark victory for
the program over North Carolina State, Yale’s first win over
an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Gobrecht also reached a
milestone 450th career coaching win last season.
After posting a 3-24 mark in her first season with the Bulldogs, Coach Gobrecht led the team to 12 wins in the 2006-07. The nine-win improvement was one of the best in Division I that season. The 2006-07 season was highlighted by a six-game winning streak and a 15-point victory over a Marist squad that would reach the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) of the NCAA Tournament. Yale was also the only Ivy League team to defeat league champion Harvard. In 2007-08, Gobrecht led the Bulldogs to a 7-7 record in the Ivy League, their best conference record since 2001-02. Yale’s fourth-place finish in the league was also its highest since the 2001-02 campaign.
Gobrecht has amassed a 460-388 (.542) record during her 29 seasons, ranking her 31st among active coaches in career victories. The ninth coach in the 37-year history of Yale women’s basketball, Gobrecht has more career Division I victories than any other active basketball coach in the Ivy League, men or women. In her tenure at Yale, she has coached an Ivy League Rookie of the Year (Melissa Colborne, 2006-07) and two first team All-Ivy players (Colborne, 2007-08 and Erica Davis, 2006-07). Prior to Gobrecht’s arrival in the Elm City, a Bulldog player had not earned first team All-Ivy accolades since Katy Grubbs in the 1997-98 campaign.
“I believe Yale is one of the finest institutions in the world, and to be involved with this university is a privilege,” Gobrecht said upon her arrival in New Haven. “I think my career has been leading up to this.”
After turning around the Cal State Fullerton program, Gobrecht moved on to the University of Washington. In 11 years, her teams went to the NCAA Tournament on nine occasions. The Huskies reached the NCAA Regional Finals four times during her tenure, and advanced to the Regional Finals (Elite Eight) in 1990. She won at least 16 games every year at Washington, including eight 20-win campaigns (six consecutive), and is the Huskies’ all-time winningest coach with 243 victories. Washington won three conference championships and finished second four times during her tenure. A two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Gobrecht led Washington to a school-record 28 wins and a number-three national ranking in 1989-90. The Huskies were the only team to beat eventual NCAA Champion Stanford that season.
“My observation of Chris goes back to my days in the Pac-10 when I saw how well she developed the program at the University of Washington,” Athletic Director Tom Beckett said. “She did a great job with the Huskies, and now she’s a Bulldog. We think it’s an absolutely perfect connection, and it’s definitely the right move for us.”
After 11 years at Washington, Gobrecht took over a struggling Florida State program in 1996. The Seminoles went 5-22 in Gobrecht’s only season before she left Tallahassee to take the job at her alma mater, Southern California.
With USC’s win over Pepperdine on Dec. 4, 2002, Gobrecht became the 33rd active coach to reach the 400-win mark. In seven seasons with the Women of Troy, Gobrecht posted a 95-108 record. USC posted three winning seasons during her tenure, including a 15-13 mark in her final year, 2003-04. Two of her recruiting classes were ranked among the best in the country, and her teams regularly faced some of the best competition in the nation, including Pac-10 rival Stanford. In 2002-03 alone, the Women of Troy faced three of the previous four national champions: Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
Gobrecht began her Division I coaching career with a struggling Cal State Fullerton program in 1979-80. She coached the Titans for six seasons, posting an 84-82 record. She led Cal State Fullerton to an 18-12 record in her third season on the job. In the 1984-85 season, Gobrecht’s last with Cal State Fullerton, the Titans posted a 19-11 record and made their first appearance in the WNIT, making her a finalist for national Coach of the Year honors.
She served as an assistant for a USA Basketball select team which played in Czechoslovakia and Italy in 1990. In addition, six of Gobrecht’s former players have played professionally in the WNBA and ABL.
Her coaching career began in 1978 at Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) High School, where her team went 20-4 and made the CIF AAA playoffs. The next year, Gobrecht led Pasadena City College to a 25-5 record, a conference championship and second place in the state junior college tournament.
A Toledo, Ohio native and a graduate of Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School, Gobrecht earned a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from USC in 1977. Then known by her maiden name of Chris Geiger, she was a three-year starter for the Women of Troy from 1974-76 and also played two seasons of volleyball at USC. After graduation, she spent a year volunteering in the Peace Corps, where she worked as an English teacher at St. Mary’s College in Apia, Western Samoa.
She and her husband, Bob, the Managing Director of Special Olympics North America, have two children: Eric, 23, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy currently attending flight school, and Madeline, 20, a junior forward on the team.