Twenty years after graduating from USC in 1977 to embark on a coaching career, Chris Gobrecht returned to campus to take the helm of the Women of Troy basketball program. On May 8, 1997, she replaced Fred Williams, who left after two years as USC's coach.
Gobrecht, 48, now prepares to enter her seventh season as head coach of the Women of Troy, and currently owns a 78-95 overall record at Troy.
Gobrecht has been a head coach at the Division I level for 24 years, having guided programs at Cal State Fullerton (six years), Washington (11) and Florida State (one). She was a two-time Pacific-10 Coach of the Year (1987-88) with the Huskies and has amassed a 410-298 career mark.
She reached the 400-victory mark last season in a win over Pepperdine on Dec. 4, 2002, becoming the third active Pac-10 coach to reach the mark (behind Arizona's Joan Bonvicini and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer). Gobrecht is the second-winningest coach in the Pac-10 after 17 years in the conference with a record of 179-109 (.622).
In 1995, Gobrecht reached the 300-victory plateau on Jan. 19, at the age of 39, making her one of the youngest coaches to do so in America.
During her 11 years (1986-96) at Washington, she compiled a 243-89 (.732) record. Gobrecht, the winningest coach in Washington history, led the Huskies to nine NCAA Tournament berths (including advancing to the regionals four times), three conference championships (1986-88-90) and four second-place league finishes. Her teams won at least 16 games each season (including getting 20 wins eight times). Her 1990 team, which pinned the only loss on national champion Stanford, set a school record for victories (28) and finished No. 3 in the AP poll (the highest ranking ever in the program's history).
After just two seasons with the Women of Troy, Gobrecht managed to jump-start a program that had been burdened with inconsistency over the previous decade. In 2000, USC recorded its first winning record (16-14) and received its first postseason invitation (WNIT) since Gobrecht's arrival in 1998.
In 2001, Gobrecht and her coaching staff welcomed one of the nation's top recruiting classes, including the No. 1 post player in the country. But with its youth and inexperience, the 2001 squad struggled to find success until capping off the regular season with four straight wins and a glimpse of what is yet to come.
The 2002 squad found its way back into the postseason, advancing to the second round of the Women's Postseason NIT with a dominating victory over San Francisco before falling to Washington. The Women of Troy finished 16-14 overall and 11-7 in a tight Pac-10 race for its best conference finish (tied for fourth) since Gobrecht took the helm.
Despite a disappointing 14-17 overall finish (8-10 in the Pac-10) in 2003, Gobrecht and her staff had great success on the recruiting front. The program welcomed another top 10 recruiting class for the 2004 season - Gobrecht's second top 10 class at Troy.
Aside from her collegiate coaching experience, Gobrecht has also had success sending her players to the next level. Six of her former players have competed professionally in the United States in the WNBA and the former ABL, including current Phoenix Mercury forward Adrain Williams (USC `99).
With her success over the past 24 years, she has turned into somewhat of a spokeswoman for the sport. In the fall of 1991, Gobrecht was a featured speaker at the NCAA-sponsored "Spotlight on Women's Basketball" of 1990, she was honored by the Seattle chapter of Women in Communication at its annual Matrix Table awards presentation as a 1990 Woman of Achievement. Gobrecht won the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sports Star of the Year Award in 1996, was a nominee for the award during the 1988 season.
Gobrecht came to USC after spending the 1997 season at Florida State. She began the process of reconstructing a downtrodden Seminole program and finished with a 5-22 record.
Prior to her stint at Washington, Gobrecht spent six seasons (1980-85) as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, where she began a rebuilding process and ended with an 84-92 record. The 1985 Titans earned a berth in the Women's NIT and Gobrecht was a national Coach of the Year finalist.
Gobrecht began her coaching career in 1978 as the head coach at Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) High near Los Angeles. Her team went 20-4 and advanced into the CIF AAA playoffs. In 1979, she became the head coach at Pasadena (Calif.) City College, guiding her Metropolitan Conference titlist squad to a 25-5 record and a runner-up finish in the state junior college tournament.
She has also coached at the national and international levels. She was an assistant for a 1990 USA Basketball select team which traveled to Czechoslovakia and Italy. In 1989, she led the East Team to a silver medal in the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Under her maiden name of Chris Geiger, she was a three-year (1974-76) starter on USC's basketball team. She also played volleyball for the Women of Troy for two years (1973-74). She received her bachelor's degree in public affairs from USC in 1977.
Following graduation, she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer, spending a year teaching English at St. Mary's College in Apia, Western Samoa.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, on Feb. 9, 1955, she prepped at Huntington Beach (Calif.) High.
She and her husband, Bob (who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at USC), have two children: a son, Eric, 17, and a daughter, Madeline, 14.
Bob is currently a professor of Sports Management at Long Beach State. He previously held executive positions with Disney Sports, the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, IEG and the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association.
Eric and Madeline both attend Palos Verdes (Calif.) High. Eric, a junior, is a goalie on the boys varsity water polo team and was a swimming C.I.F. semifinalist as a sophomore. Madeline, a freshman, competes on the varsity teams in both girls basketball and golf.
In addition to a dog and a cat of their own (named "Winner" and Ivy," respectively), the Gobrecht family has also recently become involved with the Guide Dogs of America program. The family adopted a black lab named "Pendleton" last year from the organization. After completing its training over an 18-month period, the dog will be returned to serve as a guide dog for the blind and visually impaired.
Gobrecht has numerous family ties to USC: her father, William, was a professor at USC; her mother, Adrianne, earned a doctorate degree from USC; her sister, Gwynn, is a USC graduate; her father-in-law, Bob Sr., and sister-in-law, Carol, and niece Julie Orswell all earned undergraduate degrees at USC; and her nephew, Jeff Orswell, is a USC graduate who was a member of the Trojan Marching Band.
Gobrecht's Career Head Coaching Record