For Hilbert college men’s basketball coach Rob deGrandpre the annual Hilbert College basketball game is one of his favorite days on the calendar.
”This is the twelfth edition of the game and this alumni game dates back to the fall of 2010,” he said.
Before coming to Hilbert, coach said “that the game would happen every fall at his previous school he coached at.”
“A big key is to get your alumni back” and to “have current players know who they are,” he added.
He said it is very important for alumni to come back because they are a big part of the college, and they are part of the history.
DeGrandpre said when he took over the program in 2002 the program was “gutted” and how it was an “uphill battle.”
He also talks about those alumni basketball players who were with them in two-thousand-two and coach says he has a lot of “admiration for them” and, “they wanted to build their own legacy.” The coach also says that is very important to him to have alumni come and speak to the current team. Coach adds that he gives those alumni who speak to the team “a big drumroll introduction and says that he lists those players accomplishments.” He talks also
“Former players talking to current players and always help in the growth and maturation. Freshman players hear from former alumni who were here, five, ten, fifteen years ago and to show 18-year old players how successful an alumni is in life now and how basketball plays a big role in that.
DeGrandpre says that he has former alumni being all-conference players going into the Hilbert College athletics hall of fame. He talks about how college athletics, not just basketball but in general for student-athlete is hard work and how it is an occupation.
“In those four years of playing and learning life lessons that you can carry into your thirties, forties and fifties until you retire,” deGrandpre said. He said he has had lots of former players “hang up their sneakers and grab a whistle” and now they are part of the coaching staff.
Currently he has two former players on his staff including Cody Troutman who played for deGrandpre and graduated in 2012.
He also has Jack Gaylord who played at Hilbert in 1979.
“Alumni would trudge through the snow and go to Immaculata Academy and practice all hours through the night and then walk back to Saint Joes dorm and do it all again the next day. This was before the Hafner recreation center was built and Coach says that he “enjoys the relationship that he has built with the alumni in the twenty-years he been coaching.”