Most people never reach their dream job and the select few that do rarely attain it before a 35th birthday.
Meet Dalip Bhatia.
The dream may seem strange, but Bhatia is right where his younger self imagined.
“When I entered the profession eight or nine years ago, I was working as a Division III assistant at Kean,” Bhatia said at Rutgers basketball media day. “My former boss asked me what would be my dream job. I told him it was to be an assistant coach at Rutgers, my alma mater, my home. For me to have that opportunity nine years into the profession is awesome.”
A North Brunswick, N.J., native and 2005 Rutgers graduate, he returned home at the start of coach Eddie Jordan's tenure as director of basketball operations.
Jordan promoted Bhatia in an offseason coaching change, and dream-making move for the young coach.
“I’m excited to be able to represent my alma mater, and help coach Jordan get this program back up to where it belongs on a national level,” Bhatia said. “This place is special to me, and I share with our student athletes how special this place is and the impact it can have on you as you graduate. My memories of this place are so fond that it was ultimately my dream job to be an assistant coach at Rutgers. I’m grateful for all of the people that have helped me along the way.”
Bhatia takes over for Mike O’Koren as a full-time assistant. O’Koren moved to a senior advisory role, which puts Rutgers in an improved recruiting position.
Bhatia has experience as a recruiter, including stint as Kean’s recruiting coordinator, and can now hit the road for prospects.
“It’s a great feeling to represent your alma mater when you’re out on the recruiting trail,” Bhatia said. “When you wear a shirt with a Rutgers logo or Rutgers basketball lettering, it’s very special to me. It’s something that our entire staff takes very seriously. Every morning I wake up and I put on a polo with a big ‘R’ on it, I take that very seriously. That means so much to me.”
Jordan moved him into a recruiter’s role for a reason. He said the early results speak for themselves.
“He’s a bulldog,” Jordan said. “He’s a recruiter’s dream. He gets after it. He dots his I’s, crosses his T’s, he has great connections. He has great delivery. He’s just relentless, and he’s done a great job for us. He can do the basketball operations thing with his eyes closed and his hands behind his back. He was so good at it, but I knew he would be a bulldog recruiter.”