Now in his 32nd year as head coach of Tufts University Men's Basketball, Bob Sheldon continues to lead a Jumbo program that is regularly among New England's best.
The Jumbos have posted double digit wins in the last nine seasons. A 12-14 record last season, the team earned the final seed into the NESCAC tournament. The Jumbos fell in the semifinals after eliminating the top-seed, Middlebury, by an 85-76 score.
From the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2018, the team has averaged 20+ victories with a 62-22 mark. The senior class which graduated in 2018 won a total of 75 games following last year's 17-8 season that was punctuated by a nine-game winning streak.
In 2016-17, 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.com 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 national poll and Coach Sheldon was selected as the D3hoops Northeast Region Coach of the Year. The team's 23 wins in 2015-16 tied the school record.
The Jumbo program's all-time leader in victories with 448, Coach Sheldon ranks among the top 40 for active head coaches in Division III.
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 seven seasons. The Jumbos have a 27-13 mark against conference opponents since 2014.
Sheldon and his staff continue to recruit some of the top players in the region to Tufts. Vincent Pace, a 2018 graduate, finished his career 10th on Tufts' all-time scoring list (1,395 points) and was an All-NESCAC first team pick last year. Tom Palleschi was the D3hoops Northeast Region and NESCAC 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 in 2016. 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 2006-07. 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. Many team members are Big Brothers, while the team also annually plays in support of autism and pediatric cancer as well as supporting the local high school teams from Medford and Somerville.
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.