Robert Ehsan coaches on the sidelines of a men's basketball game as associate head coach. (Photo from UAB Sports)Robert Ehsan coaches on the sidelines of a men's basketball game as associate head coach. (Photo from UAB Sports)Alex Jones
- Blazeradio General Manager

At a press conference on Tuesday, April 5, Director of Athletics Mark Ingram officially announced Robert Ehsan as the sixth head coach of the men’s basketball team.

After Jerod Haase left to become the new men’s basketball head coach at Stanford University on March 25, UAB decided to stay in-house for its next head coach. UAB promoted Ehsan, who was associate head coach under Haase for four years, to be the head coach of the defending Conference-USA regular season champions. While he was an associate coach under Gary Williams at the University of Maryland and Seth Greenberg at Virginia Tech before arriving in Birmingham in 2012, this will be Ehsan's first head coaching job.

Ingram stated during the conference that the search for the new head coach took nine days and that Ehsan “won the job competing against a very competitive field.” The search committee included UAB faculty, former basketball players, administrators, athletics staff and donors.

This has been a popular hire so far, as students, fans and even former coach Haase believed that Ehsan was the best man for the job. The news of Ehsan’s hiring also generated the social media hashtag “#RobMob.”

UAB Champion Club member David Cochran Jr. is enthusiastic about Ehsan’s coaching ability.

“He was by far the best option. He was the only candidate that guaranteed that we kept the players together that we currently have. He has a great relationship with the high school coaches around the state. He is smart, savvy, and a great X's and O's coach,”Cochran said. “He will do more with what we currently have and has the most potential to recruit greatness than anyone else that was on the radar.”

For UAB alumnus John Moody, Ehsan’s appeal comes from his experience as assistant coach to winning teams.

“I'm thrilled Robert Ehsan was selected as UAB Men's Basketball new Head Coach. He is well respected by coaches around the country as an assistant coach having great potential and ready to be a head coach. He has worked as an assistant or associate head coach for several great, winning coaches,” Moody said. “He has proved to be an excellent recruiter. Players respect his coaching ability.”

Senior Jared Ball is optimistic about Ehsan’s ability to pick up where the team left off at the conclusion of this season.

"I feel as if everyone wins with the hiring of Coach Ehsan. The players, fans, and students benefit from having someone who is already familiar with the culture here, and will be able to pick up strongly into next season without losing much, if any ground at all. His experience from a great coach at Maryland will be crucial to the team in the future,” Ball said.

After the announcement, Ehsan spoke to the team and the media.

“This opportunity, it is really not about me. It’s about our program, it’s about these guys, it’s about their families, it’s about their friends, our fans,” Ehsan said. “It’s about the UAB family and the UAB community.”

Ehsan spoke briefly about his predecessor, calling former coach Haase “one of the best people in college basketball and college athletics.” In his address to the team, he reminisced on when he recruited each of the players and spoke on the future of the program.

“Last season was special, but I have a sense of unfinished business and I know you do too,” Ehsan said.

He also announced at the press conference that his associate head coach will be Turner Battle, who has been with UAB for two years, and that he would like to have the rest of his staff by next week. Ehsan remarked that he is “lucky and blessed” to be able to coach the players he recruited, calling the roster “the most talented, together, and healthy out right now.”