Patriot Pride: Alumni Coaches Root for the Home Team
Posted: November 16, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Carrie Secondo
George Mason alumni who return to their alma mater as coaches may be the Patriots’ most committed fans. They have returned to make coaching their career, and in doing so have made it a lifestyle. George Mason alumni-coaches have a special relationship with the school–they have a hand in its past, present, and future. Currently, the Patriot coaching staff has six head coaches and 14 assistant coaches who are George Mason alumni–a high number considering other universities in the Colonial Athletic Association average only seven alumni coaches.
Although George Mason alumni may have an advantage as coaches once they are hired, they are not given special consideration during the hiring process. “It’s always an open search, and alumni status is not used as a hiring criteria,” says Tom O’Connor, director of athletics. But O’Connor describes alumni status as a value-added bonus.
“These coaches know the university, they have a great passion for the university, and having been a Mason student they understand what the university is all about,” O’Connor says. Coaches with other alma maters can be just as successful as alumni, but George Mason grads understand the experience here at George Mason better because they lived it themselves, he says.
Associate athletic director Kevin McNamee says for alumni coaches the job goes far beyond a working commitment. “It’s a living commitment–they are a little more attached because they played here, they competed in the program, and they helped create the legacy of the program,” he says.