Time Out with Sam Hargraves

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What is your background in Basketball?

I started playing basketball as far back as I remember, on my Nerf hoop in the kitchen growing up! Used to drive my dad crazy. I was an assistant college coach for 13 years before getting my first head coaching job in 2011 at Alma college. I was there for eight years and then came to Olivet.

How long have you been coaching at OC and what do you like most about coaching here?

I’m currently in my fourth year here as head coach. I love the opportunity we have to recruit such a diverse pool of student-athletes. Our job as coaches is to take these young men, all from different unique backgrounds, and create a family through basketball.  It is an incredibly rewarding process.

Where does your passion for this sport stem from?

I don’t know exactly. DNA I guess. I just remember being very young, and watching Magic Johnson play for the Lakers during the old NBA broadcasts on CBS. I was enamored with it. Games were not televised as much back then so it was a big deal to watch.  Those Lakers teams played so fast, and they shared the basketball amazingly well. There was nothing else like it. My dad went to Michigan State, so he brainwashed me a little into liking Magic in the first place.

What’s one thing you tell your student-athletes when you see they need to be inspired or reassured that they’ve got what it takes to succeed, whether in their sport or in the classroom?

This is such a great question, and it’s the thing that we probably talk about the most when trying to build a program. Where does self-confidence come from? How do you get it? Do you have to earn it? These are things we discuss almost daily. There’s not one thing I tell them, it really is a different conversation with each player. We try to figure out what they need to hear to get them to realize what their best is and how good they can be. It’s a process that takes repetition and patience.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?

I absolutely love to play pickleball. I wish it had a different name because I think it turns people away from trying it out. (Which it did to me for a couple of years!) I’ve always been a big tennis fan and growing up loved playing ping pong. When I discovered pickleball it was like combining the two! I don’t have the time to play as much as I’d like right now, but I do have some goals heading into retirement one day.


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