Current Location: Boston, MA and Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Founder and President of Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy (www.crossover-india.org)
Title:Assistant Director of Admission at The Pike School
Why do you have a career in the sports industry?
I have been fortunate enough to play for a Bill Sweek (who himself played for the legendary coach John Wooden at UCLA) which has had a profound impact on my teaching and coaching approach. This is my thirteenth year as an educator. In that time I have been blessed to coach over two dozen future college athletes at a very high level of private school varsity basketball.
Crossover was founded in the fall of 2010 as an idea of change – of how to impact the high school graduation rate in India (between 7%-9%) through the use of skills that I had witnessed as success markers in my previous students which are also reflected in a team sport such as basketball. Those traits/pillars are Leadership, Character, Teamwork, and Communication. The evolution and growth of Crossover’s impact (from 45 students in 2012 to 430+ the past two summers) has shown that it has an attractive quality to children and has created an avenue for student retention (Crossover students have left school at a rate of less than 15% compared to the national average of 60%) in the age demographic of 9-14 years of age. As well, in every year we have maintained a minimum balance of 50% of our participants being girls.
These two areas of impact and growth are why I have a career in sports.
What is the best part of working in sports?
There are a million answers to this question – but for me the best part of working in sports is the emotional investment and reward associated – as Jim Valvano once said in his ESPY acceptance speech, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry – that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special!” Sports has the ability to bring out passionate full emotions that move our spirits, that make the world pause for a few moments, that create bonds and memories consistently unlike any other activity. There is always a next challenge, next goal, next practice, and yet all of us can sit and share stories of games and moments that moved us to tears of joy or sadness, elation or heartache, and we are able to understand each other. It crosses borders, crosses ages, crosses gender, and creates its own language of empathy, love, resilience, and hugs. There are constant rewards, next steps, and friendships.
Advice for people trying to break into the sports industry?
Look to connect with people you respect and can learn from – regardless of what sport or industry. Look for people who will be honest with you and have shown the ability to invest emotional capital into others. You should always be putting yourself in a position to learn and grow – otherwise everything plateaus.
There’s an old basketball saying – If you’re the best player on the court, you’re on the wrong court.