Idaho volleyball: Father, daughter share Vandal ties
Longtime Vandal fans might have heard a familiar name at Idaho volleyball matches this season. Hobart. Yes, that Hobart. Junior transfer Klaree Hobart, a second generation Vandal student-athlete, dons the silver and gold much like her father did decades before her.
Klaree, the daughter of Idaho Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Hobart, enrolled at Idaho last January. The younger Hobart joined the Vandals after two years at Blue Mountain CC, helping the Timberwolves to back-to-back Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.
Ken, Idaho's quarterback from 1980-83, was inducted to the Idaho Hall of Fame in 2007. Known as "The Kamiah Kid," Hobart totaled 79 career touchdown passes, a number that still stands second all-time. His name appears in numerous Vandal passing records, and is one of five Vandals to have his number retired.
To Klaree none of that matters too much. He is just 'Dad.'
"I personally do not take any of that into account too much," Klaree stated. "My dad is pretty humble about it. I am pretty humble about it. People ask me and I say, 'Yeah that is my dad.' As far as him being a great athlete, yeah that is great, but he is just my dad."
The Hobarts, living 30 miles down US-95 in Lewiston, frequented Idaho athletic events when Klaree was young. In more recent years volleyball has taken much more of a higher priority for the family.
"We came to quite a few football games," Ken recalled. "The last several years we have not gone to as many because we were always at a volleyball gym somewhere. Klaree obviously saw my name on the wall and heard a few stories [about me]. But we also came to as many volleyball matches as we could. We tried to do the best we could to get to Vandal matches, but we were always in the gym watching Klaree."
Klaree began to develop quite a resume for herself. She was on the 2012 and 2013 5A State Volleyball Champions teams at Lewiston High School. In 2013 she was the Inland Empire League Defensive Player of the Year. She was also Second Team All-State in both championship seasons.
Hobart shines as a defensive specialist, but developed into an accomplished hitter by the end of her high school career. She got the opportunity to jump back on the defensive side of things as a freshman at Blue Mountain CC. She excelled in her first year, earning First Team All-American honors. Going into her second season she was again tasked with making a change.
"She will not tell you this," the elder Hobart bragged. "She was looking forward to going back-to-back [All-American] when right before the season her coach pulled her aside. He said, 'Look you can play libero and do what you like to do, or you can take one for the team and be a hitter and we will win another title.' She really made a personal sacrifice for the team."
Klaree had a few different offers when it came to where she wanted to continue her volleyball career. Head coach Debbie Buchanan and Idaho offered her a chance to be close to home.
"The proximity to home definitely is a plus. I like being close. It is also cool to be playing at my dad's alma mater."
"There were a couple other opportunities," Ken added. "This one [Idaho] was the first choice. We are glad that she made the choice. She is glad she made the choice. She has some wonderful coaches and thoroughly enjoys her teammates."
Nowadays the name Hobart hangs in the Kibbie Dome with the rest of Idaho's past athletic achievements. As for the present? They are both helping to write a new chapter for the Hobart name.
"I would trade any success I ever had to see her have more [success]," the proud father explained. "She won a couple State Championships and a couple Junior College Championships. I think she has come here to Idaho fully expecting to win a Big Sky Championship."
Klaree has already began to make her how path at Idaho. She has been able to move back to defense full time and is fifth on the team with 1.98 digs per set. She has started two matches this season, appearing in 41 total sets. She also leads the team with a .947 serve percentage.
"It is just that," Klaree said about making her own path. "I do not want to be known for just being his daughter. Yes, there is a banner on the wall, but I want to put a banner on the wall for my team."