Coaching is no easy task at the collegiate level.
Hundreds of athletes go through the Keene State College program and each coach is expected to teach and help each individual player grow.
This holds true for assistant coaches, who do a lot behind the scenes of the courts, fields, pools and tracks.
Tyler Hundley, the assistant coach of the KSC men’s basketball team, said there are a lot of factors that go into being an assistant coach.
“Being an assistant is a somewhat thankless job, but the fulfillment comes from helping young people develop and grow,” Hundley said.
Being an assistant coach requires someone who is able to provide thoughtful input with tasks, duties and sport specific issues, Hundley said, adding that all of these things remind him of how little control he actually has with what happens on the court.
“I learned that preparation is an integral aspect… once the game starts, there is only so much a coach can control,” Hundley said.
There are struggles in every coaching position, but Hundley said one of the best things about coaching is having the ability to “get lost” in a sport that you love.
“Having the ability to teach through experience is very rewarding,” Hundley said.
But behind every assistant coach is the reason they chose to pursue coaching in the first place.
“Helping athletes is one of the main reasons why I got into coaching,” Hundley said.
He added that the four years in college is where athletes do the most growing, so having the ability to guide them and help them learn is one of the most rewarding things he has ever experienced.
At the end of the day, Hundley walks away from the court with a sense of fulfillment.
“A good assistant coach is not just a “yes man,” but provides thoughtful input,” Hundley said.
Brad Bishop, the assistant coach of KSC men’s lacrosse, said his role requires a lot of traveling and recruiting year round.
“I reach out to around 250 kids per high school and try to get them on campus, and I put together practice plans and execute them daily,” Bishop said.
Bishop is personally in charge of coordinating the defense, which means he often designs different packages and match ups for each game.
Although it requires a lot of work, Bishop said that it’s something he loves.
“Helping the kids become responsible adults is one of the best things I get to do and see happen. These guys I coach are learning about the game we all love and on top of that, they learn valuable lessons about being an adult,” Bishop said.
Although Bishop loves his job, he also has to travel an hour and a half each way every day when lacrosse is in season.
The commute can be straining and create adversities when trying to help student athletes year round, but Bishop does his best.
“When I get out of my truck and until I get home, I shut off everything in my life and that time is about each student athlete. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to help someone else… whether that be school work, relationships, family issues, or even just lacrosse issues,” Bishop said.
Matt Schmidt, the assistant coach of men’s soccer and Rob Bennett, the assistant coach of women’s basketball did not respond to comment.
The life of being an assistant coach can come with its problems, luckily our KSC assistant coaches embrace these challenges with ease and really care about our student athletes no matter what.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org