Former RGV Vipers Coach Bob Hoffman Leads Mercer to Upset of Duke

The Mercer University Bears pulled off a stunner on Friday, beating Duke in the NCAA tournament as a No. 14 seed. And they were led by an NBA D-League alum.

Mercer hired head coach Bob Hoffman straight out of the NBA D-League after he coached the Rio Grande Valley Vipers during their inaugural season (2007-08). Hoffman's Vipers, who went 21-29 that season, featured future NBA players Aaron Brooks, Shannon Brown, C.J. Watson, Ivan Johnson, Steve Novak and C.J. Watson.

He had previously coached at Southern Nazarene (women), Oklahoma Baptist, Texas Pan-American, Oklahoma and in the ABA -- setting the trend for RGV to find up-and-coming coaches in obscure places.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers All-Time Head Coaches
CoachSeasonsHired FromCurrent Position
Bob Hoffman2007-08Arkansas Aeros (ABA)Mercer head coach
Clay Moser2008-09Orlando Magic (scout)Lakers scout
Chris Finch2009-11Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium)Rockets assistant
Nick Nurse2011-13Iowa Energy (NBA D-League)Raptors assistant
Nevada Smith2013-presentKeystone College (Division III)Vipers head coach

Check out some more photos from Hoffman's time with the Vipers:

The Bears joined the NBA TV GameTime crew in studio on Friday, alongside alum Sam Mitchell, to talk about their NCAA tournament appearance: