Class, charisma, character. These are the three C's that describe Tommy Amaker. He's a man that when he speaks, you listen. The way he carries and conducts himself, you mimic. I look back at the many influential people I had the opportunity to meet in my life, and Tommy Amaker is definitely one of them.
I'll never forget my freshman year of college I spent at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was very homesick and wanted to transfer home. The choice was a no-brainer Seton Hall University. I would be the third generation in my family attending there. Also, college hoops weren't big in Lincoln. I was excited about going to the Big East, a conference I grew up following. Even more exciting was that Seton Hall hired Tommy Amaker from Duke University. I couldn't wait until school started.
On my first day of classes, I had a break in my schedule. I decided to stop by the men's basketball office to see what I could do to help the program. A very nice young lady named Kirsten Green introduced me to coach Jackson. Coach Jackson told me that they would be interviewing students for some manager positions. He gave me all the information and I was on my way. I remember leaving and walking away amazed how I was treated with such class and how sincere everyone was. I decided that from that moment I would interview for the managers position.
I interviewed for the position, and I was hired. I was very excited to join coach Amaker's staff. The first lesson I learned in life was from my father. Treat people how you would like to be treated. Coincidentally, Lesson number one in Coach Amaker's program was the same. Coach said you never know who that person could be or who they may know. Interestingly enough there was a lady lost in the Rec center and was trying to watch her son play, Coach Amaker did not know who the lady was but took the time out to walk her to the court her son was playing on. Even more interesting was the lady turned out to be Al Harrington's mother. That first impression stuck out in Mrs. Harrington's mind, because later in Al's recruiting process she mentioned that story.
Coach Amaker was very big on image. The image you depict is the image you create. The image Coach Amaker brought to Seton Hall was class. Everything that was to be done was to be done in a classy manner. The players and staff conducted themselves with class around the University.
Coach Amaker was a superior motivator. I thought he was terrific at motivating his players and even the staff around him. My most vivid memory was the practice before traveling up to the Carrier Dome to battle Syracuse for the first time under his watch. The sound system in Walsh was blaring, and the whole practice was positive. I'll never forget the vibe I had after that practice. I knew Seton Hall was going to win. There were no doubts in my mind and the way the players were carrying themselves you knew a victory was brewing. Sure enough Seton Hall won the game; the team blew out Syracuse giving them their worst home loss ever.
Part 2 tomorrow
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