Commencement May 19

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Dylan Jacob '24: Growing and inspiring others through coaching

Dylan Jacob ’24, a Business Administration major and member of the EC men’s basketball team, saw the basketball court from a different angle while volunteering as a coach for the City of Lights Hoop Group in Elmira. Jacob volunteered on weekdays and weekends to help the group of 15-year-old students looking to level up their hoops game.

The experience gave Jacob insight into himself and his future career path.

“It was a lot of learning about myself,” explained Jacob. “I learned about the ups and downs of a role with much less control than you think it would have. I got to teach the kids how I wanted to and told them what I was looking for, but once I sent them onto the court, I had no control.”

Beyond learning to be comfortable with that lack of control, Jacob said he had to gain patience, often stepping back and realizing he needed to communicate basic information that he takes for granted as a seasoned player. He also practiced skills he is learning in his business courses, such as creating a practice plan and using data and statistics to assess strategies and make adjustments.

His efforts were noticed and he quickly gained the trust of the other coaches, the students, and the students’ parents. That trust helped strengthen Jacob's coaching as he collaborated with the parents to help his students excel.

“I had one kid who was arguably one of the better players,” he elaborated. “He thought everything he did was right. We eventually worked it out. His parents helped him understand that I was helping him and he came to see that I am good at basketball and that I was trying to help him improve.”

“Dylan nurtured the kids’ skills and their love of the game,” shared Ted Peet, Director of Basketball Operations for City of Lights Hoop Group. “They were able to win some games and their experience was tremendous.”

In one example that Jacob shared, he helped a student from another, more advanced team, relax and relish playing.

“I brought him to play with us for a tournament and I told him to just go have fun. He responded, ‘I have freedom?’ I explained to him that his role on the team is to play and have fun. His mom said it was the first time she saw him smile. He later started to show up at my practices.”

Peet also shared how members of Jacob’s team, who previously struggled to get placements on the high school teams, are now on the rosters, with several taking starting positions. He also shared how Jacob went above and beyond as a volunteer.

“We hosted a tournament about 3 1/2 hours away in Pennsylvania. Dylan had a test or a paper he was working on and didn’t get done until late at night. He still drove down and was up to coach the team early the next morning. The team felt a bit down that day and they were competing against a really good team. Dylan coached them. He brought their spirits up, he got the group humming, and it was amazing to watch.”

“This experience helped me understand what I want to do after college,” shared Jacob. He has chosen to pursue coaching after he graduates as it is “better to start young and move up the chains now, rather than wait until I’m older.”

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