Coach's Corner: Great Citizens. Great Students. Great Teammates.
Robert Hughes, head coach of the men's basketball team - October 4, 2016
Every recruit who walks into Alumnae Hall hears me talk about those three things in that order. That’s what we as coaches will ask of any prospective recruit the first time we sit down with them. The last two things are pretty self-explanatory. We want student-athletes who want to be serious students, young men who look to achieve their maximum potential in the classroom. On the court we want players who accept a role, give maximum effort, and are willing to sacrifice for their teammates. These are not unique ideas. Visit with almost any other coach in the country and they will give similar recruiting pitches. You might not, however, hear that first part, great citizens, as often, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
What does it mean to be a great citizen? It sounds lofty, but really it is quite unassuming. It requires more than just being nice to the people around you, treating others with respect, and being a positive force in the world every day. Sure, we want our student-athletes to do these things, but these are the effect and not the cause. So, when I ask the recruits (and my current student-athletes) to be great citizens what I am really asking of them is one simple, yet powerful act—carving out a small place in their hearts for Rosemont. We want student-athletes who embrace our community, because it is our greatest strength. It is this community who rallies to support us throughout our seasons, lifts us up in times of personal or athletic defeat, and inspires us every day to represent Rosemont in the world beyond the Main Line.
Being a student-athlete is not easy. The demands on your time are greater than most regular students, and at times, the homework, practices, internships, and playoffs can overwhelm even the most diligent, organized student-athlete. It would be easy for the community to expect less of student-athletes, and in fact many colleges and universities do. A person only has to look at the latest headlines to see student-athletes in trouble because the coaches and communities held them to a lower standard than the general student body. Thankfully, this is not the case at Rosemont. Here we hold our student-athletes to a higher standard. Being a Raven is a privilege and not a right. This all might sound a little too aspirant or Pollyanna, but I promise you it is the capital-T truth.
I am very fortunate to be entering my fifth year as the head men’s basketball coach at Rosemont. I have seen great changes in the College over the past few years, and I am consistently awed by the care and devotion the members of this community have for each other, and most importantly, to every new student who matriculates here. As I begin this year looking for the next group of young men to wear the Maroon and Grey, I will continue to ask each young man if he can be a great citizen, a great student, and a great teammate. I will challenge him to aspire to do great things on the court and in the classroom. I will persuade him to embrace our community, have it wrap its arms around him and, in time, give a small piece of his heart to Rosemont.