CoachSass.com

Head Men's Basketball Coach – Pratt Cannoneers

How did I get here?

My brother Brett and I following a Hofstra game in 2012-13.

My brother Brett and I following a Hofstra game in 2012-13.

Most college basketball coaches played college basketball. I did not. Almost all of the rest were at least managers during their four years of college. I was not.

Instead, I was a journalist, bouncing around from sport to sport, game to game, team to team covering every aspect of Hofstra athletics with The Hofstra Chronicle, our student newspaper, of which I was the Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief. I had always been a journalism geek.

Though in high school I guess it was more of a television production geek. After broadcasting basketball games, football games and baseball games for a few years, our basketball coaches at Livingston High School asked me to be a part of the program. Would I come on as a student assistant coach? They wanted my video skills, my ability to connect with the players since I was closer to their age and through my analysis, they thought I had a solid working knowledge that would make me an asset on the bench and in practice. I readily agreed. And I did it for the baseball team too the spring of my senior year, but I truly fell in love with basketball at that point. I felt like people valued what I had to say, I had the ear of important decision makers and I loved that I played a part in split second decisions that could lead to a win or a loss. It was exhilarating.

But writing and covering sports became my new exhilaration when I got to college at Hofstra. I started by covering the men’s soccer team and that segued into the women’s basketball beat. Soon enough I was the Assistant Sports Editor and by the middle of sophomore year, it was my section alone. I was expanding our coverage, forming relationships with each coach and team as best as possible, traveling to big away games: women’s soccer in the NCAA Tournament, men’s and women’s basketball CAA Tournaments, men’s soccer at Fordham, softball in the CAA Tournament, etc. During my time as sports editor (and my senior year as Editor-in-Chief), I had the chance to cover some stories that I will never forget. Tim Welsh being pulled over on Hempstead Turnpike and being forced to resign as men’s basketball coach. The Hofstra football program being cut. Road tripping to Albany with the women’s basketball team. I added on to that by spending time outside of the University working with different newspapers and sites, first as an intern and then as a freelancer. I have been published in the New York Daily News countless times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Inside Lacrosse, the Poughkeepsie Journal and a number of other papers. I’ve covered the Mets, the Yankees, the Knicks and the Jets, along with NCAA Tournament games and high stakes high school finals.

I wanted more though. I gave it all up be back on the other side of the court. The bench. With access and influence. Luckily I had formed a close relationship with Hofstra’s head coach Mo Cassara and after hearing my goals, he invited me to join the team as a graduate assistant for the following year. It was certainly a challenging year filled with almost as many players arrested (6) as victories (7), but the learning experience was second-to-none and it confirmed what I always knew: I could figure out a way be a successful college basketball coach.

At the conclusion of the season, the staff was not retained and as I looked for my next step, I got in touch with Adam Turner, the head coach at Bard College, just about 2 hours north of New York City. Luckily Coach Turner took a chance on me, an inexperienced, yet eager, young kid with no playing experience. I think it has worked out. In my two years I’ve helped Coach Turner and the Raptors improve from 4 wins to 11 wins in 2015, including six Liberty League victories. I’ve had the opportunity to coach a pair of 1000 point scorers, plus back-to-back All-Rookie team players in Alex Fabean-Scotch and DeVahnte Mosley. Next year looks even brighter with six awesome recruits coming in and the returning core looking as strong as ever.

Where I go from here is up in the air. But I’m hoping the route won’t be quite as circuitous.

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2015 by in Coaching, Miscellaneous, Pratt/Wesleyan/Bard.

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