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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - Page updated at 03:54 PM

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Prep Notebook | Tavio Hobson, 24, is leading choice for Garfield basketball coach

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Tavio Hobson

Only 24, with no high-school coaching experience, Tavio Hobson walked into his interview for one of the state's premier boys basketball coaching jobs with confidence.

And in front of Garfield's eight-person search committee, he wowed.

"I was going into a total different direction until we interviewed him," Garfield principal Ted Howard said. "Really strong interview."

On Monday evening, the committee narrowed its four finalists to one: Hobson, the only finalist who had not coached in a state tournament.

"I definitely knew going in that I'd probably be, on paper, the person with the least amount of head-coaching experience," Hobson said. "I wouldn't have applied and I wouldn't have accepted if I felt I wasn't qualified for the job."

He has not been hired, and any hiring is contingent upon completion of final background checks.

Hobson graduated from Seattle Prep in 2002 and was on the 2000 Class 3A championship team. He was a walk-on player for two years at Boston College before transferring to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. He most recently worked with several Portland Trail Blazers players as a representative of a Los Angeles-based sports agency.

Hobson said he has been preparing to be a coach since his freshman year of college, and in the past six years has put together a packet of his coaching philosophies. He presented the packet in his interview.

Garfield, which has won 11 state titles, has gone to back-to-back state tournaments and freshman Tony Wroten was recently named national freshman of the year by EA Sports.

"There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: people expect the next coach to be successful," Hobson said.

Hobson's father, Lou, coached O'Dea between 1986 and 1990 before starting the Youth Educational Sports Foundation, which helps athletes become better students. Howard said Hobson's approach to academics played a big part in Garfield's decision.

"Every single athlete that goes through Garfield's program should have the opportunity to go to college," Hobson said.

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Garfield's selection committee included two of its most notable alumni: legendary player and coach Joyce Walker, and Blazers guard Brandon Roy. Roy played on Hobson's AAU team and worked with him in Portland.

Note

• Woodinville senior libero Betsy Devich will play volleyball next season for Oregon State. She set several school records last season on her way to KingCo 4A Player of the Year and all-state recognition.

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