Bobby Suarez has been promoted to Associate Head Coach of the University of Portland men’s basketball program, head coach Shantay Legans announced on Tuesday. Suarez came to the Pilots alongside Legans in April of 2021 after spending the previous four years on his staff at Eastern Washington.
Suarez was instrumental in Portland’s monumental turnaround during the 2021-22 season. The Pilots won 19 games, matching the fourth-most wins in a season since Portland joined the Division I ranks in 1958, and also earned the program’s first postseason victory at the NCAA level.
Other highlights from the inaugural season included a road win against NCAA Tournament participant San Francisco, a 7-7 West Coast Conference record, and a six-game win streak late in the season. The Pilots brought back the top seven scorers and all major contributors to the 2022-23 roster, in addition to a talented class of transfers and incoming freshmen.
Despite navigating a plethora of early season injuries, the Pilots are 11-11 overall and have won three of the last four WCC games. The team made its mark on the national stage at the Phil Knight Invitational with a win over Villanova and narrow losses to national powers North Carolina and Michigan State.
“Bobby is a rising star in our industry,” Legans said. “He is an extremely hard worker, elite recruiter and a great offensive tactician. More importantly, he gets the most out of our players. They respect him and he knows how to balance accountability and encouragement.”
Suarez helped bring in 13 new scholarship players to the Pilots prior to the 2021-22 season. Eastern Washington transfer Tyler Robertson earned All-WCC Second Team honors, while UNLV transfer Moses Wood garnered honorable mention all-league recognition. All rotation players returned for the 2022-23 season.
Prior to his time on The Bluff, Suarez spent four years as an assistant coach with Legans at Eastern Washington. During that stint the Eagles won the Big Sky Conference regular season title in 2019-20 and then the 2021 Big Sky Tournament championship.
The program won 75 games overall and went 53-20 (.726) in league play. EWU had won 23 games entering the 2019-20 postseason before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the team’s run prematurely.
Suarez helped develop three Big Sky Conference MVP’s in the last four years: Tanner Groves (2021), Mason Peatling (2020) and Bogdan Bliznyuk (2018). Peatling also earned Academic All-American honors.
Suarez was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 30-Under-30 Team in June of 2020, representing the 30 most outstanding men’s college basketball coaches under the age of 30.
A winner every step of the way in his coaching progression, Suarez began as a manager and intern at Florida Gulf Coast during the program’s “Dunk City” run to the Sweet 16 in 2013. He then spent four seasons at Florida State on Leonard Hamilton’s staff before joining Legans and the Eagles.
Suarez was an assistant video coordinator while at Florida State and assistant director of the Leonard Hamilton Basketball Team Camp. In addition to team and individual video edits, Suarez put together scouting reports, recruiting videos and managed film exchange.
While at Florida State, Suarez worked with NBA First Round Draft picks Malik Beasley, Dwayne Bacon, and Jonathan Isaac, as well as future NBA player Okaro White.
Suarez was a director of operations intern and head student manager at Florida Gulf Coast from 2009-2013. His responsibilities included on-court player development, video editing and facilitating on-campus recruiting. He also assisted in the running of the Andy Enfield Summer Camps.
A member of FGCU’s program during its “Dunk City” run in 2013 season, Suarez helped the program win the Atlantic Sun Tournament championship and automatic NCAA bid. The Eagles defeated No. 2 seeded Georgetown and No. 7 seeded San Diego State to become the first-ever No. 15 seed to reach Sweet 16.
Players that FGCU developed throughout his tenure included: Brett Comer (finished career No. 24 all-time in assists at NCAA Division I level), Bernard Thompson (2013 Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year), Chase Fieler (all-time program leader for rebounds, blocked shots and field goals made) and Sherwood Brown (2013 All-America Honorable Mention selection and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year).
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Suarez worked with Team USA in 2017 and the Dominican Republic National Team in 2015, helping with on-court player development and day-to-day operations at both stops.
Suarez earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Florida Gulf Coast in 2012.