Chris Gobrecht enters her third season as women’s basketball coach at the Air Force Academy in 2017-18. With a track record of 37 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has been entrusted by Air Force Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton to lay the foundation and build the program to reach new heights.
Gobrecht was hired April 14, 2015 and is the first hire of Air Force Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton. Gobrecht comes to the Academy from Yale, where she served as head coach from 2005-15.
A proven winner and program builder, Gobrecht has coached at programs in the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference. During her 10 seasons at Yale she restored the program’s status as one of the premier women’s basketball programs in the Ivy League. Gobrecht has 35 years of head coaching experience, all at the Division I level, and has a career record of 543-502 which ranks among the nation’s top 30 active coaches. Gobrecht is the winningest coach all-time for two schools, Washington and Yale.
“I’m thrilled to bring Chris Gobrecht to the Academy to lead our women’s basketball program,” Knowlton said. “She is a proven winner and has turned around every program she’s led and done it the right way. To get someone of her caliber to the Academy makes me very excited about the future of our program.”
“After meeting with Chris during her visit to the Academy, I know our women’s basketball program will be in great hands,” Air Force Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said. “Chris embodies the values our Academy stands for and her passion for leading young people is unmistakable.”
“It is hard to put into words what the opportunity to build the women’s basketball program at the Air Force Academy means to me and my family,” Gobrecht said. “I am honored to be asked to lead the outstanding young women who make the choice to prepare themselves for service to their country as officers in the Air Force, and I am dedicated to their experience on the court producing success in competition as well as contributing greatly to their accomplishments towards the overall mission of the Academy.
“It is very difficult for me to leave Yale University; and in particular, difficult to leave a team that I love and one I believe is destined for great success in the Ivy League next year and for years to come. I am grateful to Athletic Director Tom Beckett for providing me with the experience of Yale; an experience which has led to my growth as a coach and a person,” the coach continued.
“This is an exciting time for Falcon athletics under the direction of Mr. Jim Knowlton. I sincerely thank Mr. Knowlton for the opportunity to be a part of the incredible vision he has for Air Force Athletics,” Gobrecht said.
Through the first two seasons, Gobrecht has laid the groundwork towards building the program towards new heights. Last season in 2016-17, Air Force doubled its win total from the previous season. The Falcons improved in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and free throw percentage. Freshman Mariah Forde led the Mountain West freshmen in scoring, averaging 11.0 points per game.
In her first season at Air Force, Gobrecht took over a young and inexperienced team that featured two returning freshmen starters from the previous season. The team was nearly as young in 2016-17, featuring three freshmen amongst its top six in scoring.
At Yale, Gobrecht built the program up to become an annual contender for the Ivy League championship over her last six seasons. She coached the Bulldogs to 56 wins from 2012-14 which tied for the second-most wins in a four-year stretch and most since the class of 1980 won 57 games. Under Gobrecht’s leadership, Yale has also recorded the top two marks for most Ivy League wins in a four-year span with 34 Ivy victories set by the Class of 2013 and 33 wins set by the Class of 2014.
During her tenure at Yale, Gobrecht coached 27 players that earned Ivy League postseason awards, including two Ivy League Rookies of the Year, five All-Ivy first team honorees, three All-Ivy second team honorees, six All-Ivy honorable mention players, five All-Ivy rookie team players and seven Ivy League academic team honorees. Prior to Gobrecht’s arrival at the school, a Bulldog player had not earned All-Ivy League first team accolades since the 1997-98. Gobrecht has also coached two players who competed on the international level.
Yale posted its sixth straight top-four finish in the Ivy League standings in 2014-15 with a 7-7 mark in Ivy play, while posting an overall mark of 13-15. Gobrecht became just the second coach in program history to record 100 victories at Yale with a victory at Columbia on Jan. 31, 2014. She was 117-162 (.419) in her 10 seasons at the school.
The Bulldogs enjoyed their most successful season under Gobrecht’s leadership in 2011-12, finishing with a 16-12 record and an 8-6 mark in Ivy League play in a season that included Yale’s first-ever meeting with the nation’s top-ranked team (No. 1 Baylor, Nov. 22, 2011). It was their winningest season since a 16-10 finish in 1993-94 and the third straight season with at least eight Ivy League victories. The season included several milestones, including Gobrecht’s 500th career victory which happened on Feb. 10, 2012, against Cornell.
In 2010-11, Gobrecht guided the Bulldogs to their first-ever appearance in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Bulldogs finished with a 14-15 overall record, which, until 2011-12, was Yale’s highest win total since the 2001-02 season (14-13). Gobrecht coached the Bulldogs to the biggest win in program history, a 91-85 win over then-No. 14 Florida State. It was Yale’s first win over a nationally ranked opponent in the program’s 38-year history. She followed that historic victory by guiding the Bulldogs to a 10-4 finish in Ivy League play, which matched the most wins for Yale in League play (10-4, 1988-89). The 2010-11 Ivy League season included Yale’s first sweep of Harvard since the 1993-94 season, which helped the Bulldogs finish in second place in the Ivy League standings for the first time since 1988-89, clinching the Ivy League’s automatic berth in the WNIT.
After posting a 3-24 mark in her first season with the Bulldogs, 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.
Though the 2008-09 team was hampered by a multitude of injuries, Gobrecht led her team to an 11-17 record and a landmark victory 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.
Prior to coaching at Yale, Gobrecht was the head coach at her alma mater, Southern California, where she posted a 93-108 record in seven seasons. She became the 33rd active coach to reach the 400-win mark during her time with the Women of Troy. She reached the milestone with a victory over Pepperdine on Dec. 4, 2002. Gobrecht took over a struggling Florida State program in 1996 for year, leading the school to a 5-22 record before going to USC.
Gobrecht coached the University of Washington from 1986-96. In 11 seasons at Washington, her teams went to the NCAA Tournament on nine occasions. The Huskies reached the NCAA Regional Semifinals 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 a 243-89 record. 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.
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 84-92 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 that 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, have two children, Eric and Madeline. Eric is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a graduate of the Air Force’s flight school. A captain, he is a pilot stationed at Beale AFB, CA. In October 2011, Eric married Catherine Cheney, a 2010 graduate of Yale. Mady graduated from Yale in 2011 after four standout seasons on the women’s basketball team. She married Greg Moviel, a 2007 graduate of Vanderbilt University, in 2015. Mady is currently studying nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Career Coaching Record
|Cal State Fullerton (1979-85)||6||84-92||.477|
|Florida State (1996-97)||1||5-22||.185|
|Air Force (2015-Present)||2||5-54||.085|