NORMAN — The coach on the visitor's bench Monday night at Lloyd Noble Center will be plenty familiar to the setting.
Mercer men's basketball coach Bob Hoffman has deep roots in the area.
Hoffman played at Putnam City High School and Oklahoma Baptist and coached at several spots across the state as he rose through the ranks.
He'll bring his Bears to Norman for the first time for Monday's game against the Sooners (8 p.m., ESPNU).
Earlier this season, Hoffman earned his 500th collegiate win as a head coach, beating Reinhardt. It also marked his 100th win at Mercer, which is in Macon, Ga.
“The wins are important, and it's a fun thing because that means a lot of people were successful, but more importantly you hope that you've made a difference in the lives of people along the way,” Hoffman said after that victory. “Because that's more important than those W's.”
More than half of those 500 wins came for Oklahoma schools — 243 at Oklahoma Baptist and 88 as the women's coach at Southern Nazarene.
Hoffman has coached plenty of games at Lloyd Noble, serving as an assistant under Kelvin Sampson from 2004-06.
After Sampson left for Indiana, Hoffman coached in the ABA and in the NBA's D-League before taking the job at Mercer in 2008.
Hoffman was hired at Mercer by another Oklahoma Baptist grad — school president William Underwood.
Although the pair attended the same school, they didn't know each other until Hoffman interviewed for the Mercer job. Hoffman graduated OBU in 1979, the same year Underwood arrived in Shawnee as a freshman.
Hoffman has continued to recruit the state.
There are two Oklahomans on the Bears' roster — Monty Brown and Phillip Leonard.
Brown, from Mounds, is averaging 3.3 points and 4.4 rebounds off the bench.
The 6-foot-11 center played at Liberty Mounds before finishing high school at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn.
Leonard, a 6-2 guard, is averaging 6.8 points off the bench.
He helped Tulsa Union to the 2012 Class 6A title and a perfect 29-0 season.
Leonard played at Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa last season before signing with Mercer.