Hoop Group Coaching Tree: Columbia's Jared Czech

By Pat Lawless

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Photo by Production Team

Hoop Group Coaching Tree is back with an interview with another former Hoop Group employee in Columbia assistant coach Jared Czech. Czech was the Director of Hoop Group Elite Camp in 2015 and was then hired at Columbia. He talks about college coaching, the lessons he has learned through the years and much more.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a college coach?

A: “I realized I wanted to be a college coach the first time I sat on the bench with my Dad. I was in sixth grade, my Dad had retired from coaching for a while and he came back to coach our school’s team. I didn’t play, but I liked being a part of the team by taking the book and I fell in love with coaching right there. That’s when I realized I wanted to coach basketball and the first time I realized I wanted to be a college coach was my first summer as an intern with the Hoop Group. I fell in love with it when I got to see the relationships you build and the opportunities you provide families on the college level. There are so many different parts of basketball that I love and I thought that coaching would marry all those interests together for me.”

Q: For those that don’t know, what is it like coaching at a place like Columbia?

A: “For somebody like me it’s a very special and unique opportunity. I get to work at an Ivy League school in the greatest city in the world. I grew up in New Jersey and always had aspirations to live in New York City. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the New York City culture and it is truly the greatest city in the world. The opportunity to coach at a place that combines this city with the Ivy League is special and unique. I try to be grateful for it every day.”

Q: What do you think separates Columbia on and off the court?

A: “I think New York City separates Columbia from the rest. All eight Ivy League schools provide student-athletes great opportunities, but the fact that we are the only Division One athletics program on the island of Manhattan makes this place special. Columbia taps into so many different parts of this city, which makes kids college experience an incredible one.”

Q: Who are some of the mentors you have that have helped you get to this point?

A: “As I mentioned earlier, my Dad is the reason I coach every day. I will always strive to have at least half of the impact he had on kids’ lives. He taught me about values on and off the court that I still carry with me today. Joe Scott took a chance on me as a graduate assistant at the University of Denver. From not answering my calls to now being one of my closest mentors. I am forever grateful for him giving me that opportunity. Rob Kennedy has also had a huge amount of influence in my career. Rob gave me a dream job of being a full-time employee at the Hoop Group.”

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the Hoop Group that you carry with you today?

A: “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the work we are doing is so much bigger than winning and losing basketball games. No matter where you are in basketball, doing right by student-athletes and maintaining their trust is our greatest responsibility. We need to hold those kids accountable, push them to be the best they can be and help them pursue their dreams. I think the Hoop Group made me realize how much bigger my job is than winning and losing.”

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