Now in his 30th year as head coach of Tufts University Men's Basketball, Bob Sheldon is at the helm of a program that has finished the last two seasons among the D3basketball.com top 10.
Last season, Coach Sheldon led the Jumbos to the #1 seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Tufts hosted the league semi-finals and championship game at Cousens Gym. The team earned an NCAA Tournament berth and played into the "Sweet 16" before losing to eventual national champion Babson College. Tufts finished the year with a 22-7 record and was #10 in the final D3hoops poll. In 2015-16, Sheldon's Jumbos were on the verge of reaching the NCAA "Final Four." Tufts hosted NCAA Regional and Sectional games at Cousens Gym and advanced to the "Elite Eight." The Jumbos finished the year as the #9 ranked team in the D3hoops.com national poll and Coach Sheldon was selected as the D3hoops.com Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
The Jumbo program's all-time leader in victories with 431, Coach Sheldon ranks among the top 40 for active head coaches in Division III. The team's 23 wins in 2015-16 tied the school record and the Jumbos have a 45-14 mark over the past two years.
Sheldon has guided the Jumbos to five NCAA Tournament appearances overall, including three berths into the "Sweet 16." The 2005-06 team shares the school record for wins with a 23-7 record, reached the NESCAC Championship final and advanced to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16." Sheldon was voted D3Hoops.com's Northeast Region Coach of the Year that season as well. Two other Sheldon-coached Tufts teams made NCAA appearances including the 1994-95 Jumbos who won 20 games to earn the program's first NCAA appearance. The 1996-97 team won its final seven games to earn an NCAA berth.
In conference play, Tufts has earned home court tournament berths (top four) in the competitive NESCAC five times in the last six seasons. The Jumbos have a 21-9 mark against conference opponents since 2014.
Sheldon and his staff continue to recruit some of the top players in the region to Tufts. Jumbos have won two recent NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors including Tom Palleschi in 2013 and Ben Ferris in 2012. Palleschi was the D3hoops.com Northeast Region Rookie of the Year in 2013 as well as an All-Conference selection for 2015 and 2016. He was also a National Association of Basketball Coaches All-Northeast Region pick in 2016 and was named a D3hoops.com Preseason All-American last season. Pierce Larsson, a 2010 graduate, was selected to the NESCAC All-Conference teams three years in a row and was voted NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2006-2007. Larsson is the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,855 points, and was the NESCAC scoring leader in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2008.
The Tufts team is active in the community under Coach Sheldon. The program has had two Team IMPACT teammates, partnering with the non-profit that works to improve kids’ quality of life and help them experience the camaraderie of collegiate sports. Four of last year's team members were Big Brothers, while the team also annually plays in support of autism and pediatric cancer.
Sheldon has participated in 11 NCAA Tournaments as player and coach. He is a 1977 graduate of St. Lawrence University and earned a master's degree in educational administration at Fordham in 1982. He was an assistant at Clark and Tufts prior to landing the Jumbos' head job in 1988.
Formerly the head coach of the Tufts Golf team, Sheldon received the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association's McCullough Award in 2011 for his commitment and contributions to the sport.
Coach Sheldon and his wife Cindy live in Northborough. They have three children: Jen, Bobby and Jess.