What does your job as Director of Operations entail?
Game scheduling, coordinating the team’s travel, budgeting, academic support, opponent scouting, and serving as the director of DePaul basketball camps.
When did you decide you wanted to enter this field? What steps did you take to make that decision a reality?
I’ve known that I wanted to pursue athletics / coaching as a career for as long as I can remember. Basketball has always been an integral part of my life; at the end of my senior season of high school, however, I knew I was not talented enough to continue playing in college.
At the end of my freshman year at the University of Oregon, I was hired as a student manager for the Men’s Basketball program. Whether it was doing laundry or rebounding for our players, I always tried to take pride in my responsibilities. I saw a void at the end of my first season with the Ducks, and transitioned into a Video Coordinator role. I was very fortunate – as the Video Coordinator, I broke down all our games and our opponents’ games with our head coach, Dana Altman, from when I was 19 years old to 27 years old. I sort of grew up at Oregon, and learned so much from a very respected person in Coach Altman
What sort of purpose do you feel in your job and/or why do you believe your line of work is important and meaningful?
My favorite part of my job is getting to know our players and connecting with them on a deeper level. I’ve come to realize that the more you get to know these players off the floor, the more you can get out of them on the floor and in the classroom. I do my best to fill their cups every day, and I always want to be seen as someone that they can lean on. This way, they always know that my words and actions are always coming from a good place.
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day work?
The most exciting part of my day-to-day work is seeing progress and seeing our players buy in. We are currently in our first season at DePaul, so it is a little bit like a start-up company. With so many directions to go, it’s rewarding when the staff establishes a sense of trust with the players, especially when we come across struggles and adversity.
What do you think the future of your industry looks like, let's say in 15 years? What impact will it be making? How will it be different from what you do now?
My hope is that college athletics will continue to provide opportunity and meaningful relationships for those on the coaching side and the playing side. I do think times are changing for the best with the integration of Name, Image, and Likeness in college athletics. However, I hope we don’t lose the sense of pride that student-athletes have for the schools they play for.
What makes Long Beach a great place to live and work as it relates to your industry?
I was so fortunate to have great coaches and role models throughout my youth in Long Beach. A lot of my favorite memories as a kid involve athletics in Long Beach: playing sports with my friends and Wardlow Park, CYO basketball at St. Cornelius, my youth AAU practices on the outdoor courts at Longfellow Elementary, watching high school football at Vets Stadium, going to NBA Summer League at the Pyramid, and so many more.
Are there any organizations, communities, or movements that create synergy between you and others in your field, here in the city of Long Beach?
I think we are seeing a new wave of influential people in Long Beach who will continue the legacy of those who provided us with so many memories and opportunities in this community. Alex Carmon of Beach City Hoops, Michael Coleman has started a new upcoming youth basketball program, “The Village,” Mike Guardabascio with 562 Sports. I’m sure these people, like myself, were inspired by the likes of AC Diaz, Dinos Trigonis, and Frank Burlison among others.
For any students, age 12-18 who thinks your job sounds interesting, what advice would you give them to help them learn/train/explore your field?
Be persistent and don’t look too far ahead. There was a lot of uncertainty when I was looking to get involved with the Men’s Basketball program at the University of Oregon while I was a student. Many emails and voicemails went unanswered, but I knew this was something that I wanted to pursue, so I did my best to not get discouraged.
In athletics, I’ve come across a lot of people who want everything to happen at once. But things tend to work out for people who work hard and focus their efforts on the job at hand.
In what is such a diverse and youth-friendly city, there are so many opportunities in Long Beach to spark interest, get involved in athletics, and build meaningful, lifelong relationships.