By: Rob Huizenga, Saint Xavier (Ill.) Sports Information Director
CHICAGO, Ill. – In a ceremony prior to its women’s basketball home opener against Trinity International University (Ill.) Wednesday night, Saint Xavier University (SXU) honored athletics director and head women’s basketball coach Bob Hallberg by naming the Shannon Center main arena floor the “Bob Hallberg Court” during a special dedication. Following the game, Hallberg spoke to the large crowd of family, friends, colleagues and supporters on hand to witness this historic event for SXU Athletics. He becomes only the sixth women’s collegiate basketball coach in the nation to have his home court dedicated in his honor.
“I’ve had some great nights in my coaching career,” said Hallberg during his post-game speech. “I remember wins over Illinois and Marquette and many great teams. This tops anything I’ve done. This is permanent. Those wins you forget, but this is always going to be there. I always thought to have a court named after you, you had to be dead. It’s great to be here and see this while I’m still alive.”
“People will walk into this gym in the future and ask ‘Who was Bob Hallberg?’” continuedHallberg. “He was someone who loved coaching, loved all his players and above all loved his family and friends who came out here tonight.”
Hallberg has a rich history with Saint Xavier Athletics. In 1971, he was named the head men’s basketball coach and athletics director at Saint Xavier College and held the positions for six years. His teams won 127 games and two conference titles over the stretch. Hallberg became the first head coach of the Saint Xavier University women’s basketball program in 1999 and also took over again as athletics director in May 2001.
He has had some notable accomplishments with the SXU women’s basketball program. The Cougars reached the 100-win mark in only their fourth season of existence, have achieved at least 20 wins in each season (including a program-best 31 wins in 2010) and have advanced to the NAIA National Tournament each of the last 11 seasons. Since the team began playing in 2000, the Cougars have a 327-101 overall record (.764 win percentage).
Hallberg is a well-known figure on the Chicago hoops scene. He played basketball under legendary coaches Jim Arnenberg and Spin Salario. Hallberg received his degree in physical education from Chicago State in 1966 and a master’s degree in physical education from George Williams University (Ill.). As a men’s basketball coach, he has had successful stints at a number of Chicago area institutions, including Kennedy High School, Chicago State University (CSU) and University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC).
His career coaching record (high school and college) is 905-390 (.698 win percentage). Hallberg has spent his entire coaching career building winning programs and the SXU women’s basketball team is easily one of his most successful projects. In 13 years with a relatively new program, he has put together a national contender. In September 2012, Hallberg was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame for his outstanding coaching career.
He resides in Oak Lawn, Ill., with his wife, Linda. They have three sons: Bob, Bill (Deanna) and Brian (Joy). He also has eight grandchildren: Nathan, Grace, Ben, Sofia, Gavin, Evan, Jason and Jake.