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Basketball Alumni Game is a Long standing Tradition

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.”

Hilbert Sports an Important Part of Campus Life

For Hilbert College, sports are very important  and key to day-to-day operations.

As such, the college felt the need to expand its college program this year to include Women Ice Hockey, Football and Track & Field.

 When Tim Seil, who came to Hilbert in January of 2022 to take over as Athletic Director, he knew  he was interviewing for the job that Hilbert would be expanding its sports programs.

“When I interviewed for the position I knew that we were going to be adding additional sports programs,” he said.

Siel doesn’t consider it a challenge, saying that it just makes the job more exciting and that he was excited to put his stamp on the athletic department helping the growth of Hilbert College Athletic Programs.

Rehbaum said Hilbert offer a lot to perspective students.

“We have some great opportunities for local College athletes and high school seniors. With the addition of the football program,”  Rehbuam said. ”This helps to provide an opportunity as only  Hilbert and Buffalo State Colleges have Division Three athletic programs to offer football programs”.

Rehbaum said they really have some terrific coaches here at Hilbert that buy in to the system here and they generally care about the student athletes that is necessary for success at Division III.

 “Those coaches have the drive and desire to bring them to competing the top 3 in their league and ultimately competing in the AMCC (Allegany Mountain Colleague Conference),” she said.

Seil said growing and expanding the Hilbert Athletic Programs in the Covid-19 pandemic was difficult given the many limitations put on athletics at that time,Seil talks about

“The pandemic forced everybody’s hand with everything in higher education,” he said.

He said recruiting was difficult because coaches could not go on the road as much due to restrictions.

“The pandemic did not have too much of an effect on  whether they were going to continue to add sports programs they wanted to add, Siel said.

Rhebaum said with their plans of expanding they hired full time coaches that needed workspaces and they also needed to make locker room spaces for this new and expanding sports programs. With that Rhebaum said they reduced student space and had to add more coaches’ space and states that was one of their administrative issues.

Seil says he “sees in the five-to-ten-year plan about adding facilities to accommodate adding teams because you need to add  facilities and talks about how they needed to attract more student athletes.”