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“I’m ready to teach what I’ve been taught,” says Spartans hoops star

Jared on court during basketball game

Good coaches help their players become better athletes. Great coaches help their players become better people. Jared Wagner is lucky enough to have had some great coaches over the course of his basketball career, most recently at York College of Pennsylvania, and they’ve inspired him to become a coach, too.

The senior is set to graduate this spring, and while his days of competitive playing are behind him, his opportunity to become a great coach is just beginning.

Changing the culture

When Jared started at York College, Matt Hunter, the men’s head basketball coach, had already been working to build a new culture. Valuing hard work, putting the team first, and being good humans—not just good players—were all crucial elements of this new culture.

Jared and his teammates were on board. “Everyone just buys into it,” he says. “We believe in each other. We believe in the culture.”

As a first-year student, he saw upper-class players working hard both on and off the court. It showed him how he could do the same. “It’s possible to be a great athlete and a great student at the same time,” he says.

The support of Coach Hunter was equally critical, Jared says. “He’s someone I look up to in terms of basketball and life.”

Pursuing his dream

Jared started at York College majoring in Secondary Education. His real passion, though, was coaching. He switched majors his sophomore year to pursue that dream. In May, he’ll graduate with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Athletic Coaching.

He already has some experience, assistant coaching for the Eastern York High School boys and coaching in the York Ballers club basketball organization. “I was lucky enough to have fantastic coaches growing up,” he says. “I just want to be that person for my guys.”

He aspires to be a positive influence in his athletes’ lives and teach them what he’s been taught. He’s hopeful that one day, he will be able to coach college ball. “I think I’m really prepared for what’s going to hit me next,” he says.

A growing list of accolades

Jared isn’t your average player. Under the leadership of Coach Hunter, he’s grown into a standout player on the court and a standout person off it.

He was named the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year, made the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District basketball team for District Four, was named City of Basketball Love Area Player of the Year, and was on the short list of nominees for the Bevo Francis Award—just to name a few. Just this year he was selected as an National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 2nd Team All-American.

While he’s been putting in 100 percent on the court and in the classroom, he’s also expanded his work experience. He’s currently interning with S3 Performance Training, a training facility for middle to high school-aged athletes. Whether it’s administrative work or focusing on work with athletes, Jared pitches in wherever he’s needed.

Looking ahead

As his college career winds down, Jared is looking to the future. He loves basketball, and he loves working with kids. He’s got one more season coaching with York Ballers before, hopefully, moving on to the college level. “I just want to be there and be a positive influence on them,” he says.

He’s grateful for his time at York College, and now he’s ready to take what he’s learned out into the world, he says. “I’m ready to teach what I’ve been taught.”

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