B-Club Alumni Spotlight: Athletics

B-Club Alumni Spotlight: Athletics

Former alpine skier and baseball, ice hockey and soccer players featured

The Babson College Department of Athletics and Recreation is privileged to have outstanding support from its alumni.  Some alumni have not strayed too far from Babson after graduation and have pursued a path of coaching or athletic administration on campus.  There are currently six members (head coaches, full-time assistants, full-time staff) of the athletic department carrying a Babson undergraduate degree.  As part of our alumni spotlight, we have interviewed these six to highlight their experiences at Babson as both an athlete and a staff member. 

Jon Anderson ’75
, Associate Athletics Director & Head Men’s Soccer Coach

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete? 
During Thanksgiving weekend of 1975, playing in the Final Four and winning the national championship in Brockport, N.Y. This was an experience I will never forget. Upon return to campus in the middle of the night, it seemed like the entire community was there to welcome us home.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation?
Although I pursued a career in teaching and coaching, I could not have been better prepared from the education and confidence I received at Babson, both in and out of the classroom. As it is now and was then, entrepreneurial thinking has helped me realize my dreams.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
I enjoyed meeting and talking with other people on campus.

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation?
After working in marketing and sales for a year, I knew teaching and coaching was the kind of work I received the greatest satisfaction from.  After working in the public school system, I eventually became a full-time coach at Babson. I thrive on the challenge and competition, along with watching the growth of the student-athletes over the years.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
Strive to break out of your comfort zone. Embrace the new challenges you will face with energy and enthusiasm.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world?
Make sure to pursue what you enjoy in life and not what someone else tells you to do or not to do. The experiences from your own successes and failures are what will shape your life.

Jamie Rice ’90, Head Men’s Ice Hockey Coach

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete? 
There are two. Playing in my first game at RPI as a freshman on Halloween night 1986 because I felt like all the hard work and sacrifice had been realized. The other is playing in my last game in the NCAA semifinals against Plattsburgh State here at Babson, knowing I would never again play with my teammates or be a part of a hockey team as an athlete.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation? 
I had incredible role models in my coaches and friends who challenged me every day to be my best.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
I enjoy teaching FYS as it allows me the opportunity to meet students in which I would otherwise never have a chance to interact.

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation? 
I realized that hockey was the one thing that I was most passionate about and I enjoyed competing and being a part of a team.  My coach Steve Stirling thought I could be successful as a coach and encouraged me to pursue it is a profession.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
Take advantage of all of the resources and people here on campus and get to know people outside of your athletic team. Two of my best friends from Babson did not play on my teams.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world? 
Do what you love. Life is hard enough, and there is no replacement for being truly happy in what you do because it becomes a large part of defining who you become.

John deWit ’04, Head Men’s & Women’s Alpine Skiing Coach

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete?
I don't have one specific moment, but I remember the best days with the ski team were at winter camp after training, hanging around the condo with my teammates. I also remember one day at training camp at Loon Mountain my freshman or sophomore year we got a great storm overnight that dumped maybe a foot of snow.  We were scheduled to do some gate training, but once coach realized it was a powder day training was canceled and we all enjoyed the powder day. We came up short of making the postseason or qualifying for nationals during my career, but I remember the team camaraderie and the feeling of trying to build the program.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation?
Babson gave me a great foundation for understanding business and the confidence to voice my opinions.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
  
I enjoyed surfing and body boarding during my years at Babson. We would make trips to the N.H. or R.I. coast to take advantage of storms and high surf. This was a hobby I picked up at Babson from a roommate and I continue to do some surfing today.

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation?
I enjoyed my four years on the team and when the opportunity to become the head coach became available I was excited to take the jump. I never imagined I would become the head coach one day, but with my current medical sales job I am able to also manage the coaching responsibilities. In addition, it was an opportunity to show my leadership and push myself to develop this skill.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
I believe Babson is a unique opportunity in your life to be around extremely motivated and talented people in an environment that is conducive to ideas and taking risks. Take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves and don't assume another one is coming around the corner. You can always make a course correction later, but you can't go back to the past.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world?
Don't be afraid to make a decision because if you don't it will be made for you.

Kayla Pomponi ’10,
Athletics Business and Operations Manager

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete?
My most memorable moments as a Babson athlete were playing at Wheaton during the postseason. Wheaton was always a competitive environment and our team always got up for those games. It is a strong rivalry for Babson women’s soccer that we still talk about.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation?
The collaborative learning experience in the classroom was invaluable for preparing me for life after graduation. Whether in my own classroom, teaching in Lawrence, working on my masters at BU, or functioning as part of our athletic department now, I can see how a Babson education gives you a competitive edge. Being able to work with others efficiently and effectively enables you to be successful in whatever environment you find yourself.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
Having the opportunity to go abroad was always a priority when I was looking at colleges as a high school senior. Getting to know my coaches through the recruiting process, I knew they were supportive of me being a committed athlete as well as going abroad for a semester. Semester at Sea, a program sponsored by the University of Virginia, allowed me to circumnavigate the globe and visit over 14 countries.  I met some amazing people, traveled to places I had never thought to, and gained valuable experience I would not have had without the support of Babson and the department.

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation?
I chose to enter athletics as a career path because I love the mindset of an athlete—the toughness, work ethic, and passion they embody make them special.  As a student-athlete at Babson, you are surrounded by people with these intangibles.  While teaching and coaching middle school students in Lawrence after graduation, I found those intangibles to be my greatest strengths, however I missed being surrounded by others with the same mindset.  The work was extremely rewarding, however I’m really enjoying being immersed in a workplace with athletically minded professionals working toward the common goal of developing a quality experience for our student-athletes.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
Get involved.  Babson provides such a diverse range of valuable learning opportunities for growth and leadership, but it is up to you to take advantage of them.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world?
Don’t forget what you learned at Babson. You are moving into the next phase and will become wrapped up in your new ambitious job or dream.  Be a sponge, reflect on your experiences, and relate it back to what you learned here.  The entrepreneurial perspective you have developed will take you far.

Brian Scanlon ’10, Assistant Baseball Coach

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete?
My junior season in 2009, we won the NEWMAC Championship and went to the NCAA Tournament. The entire season made for some tremendous memories, but taking that picture with the trophy is by far my fondest memory. I have it blown up on the wall at home.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation?
It is really the people who surround you at Babson that prepare you for life after graduation. I was privileged to have some great mentors on our coaching staff that taught us much more than the finer points of the game. The professors on campus make everything applicable to the real world, and you always feel as if what you are studying has a purpose.  Overall, Babson preaches excellence and preparedness, and any alumni will tell you that.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
I enjoyed supporting the other teams and organizations on campus. I was lucky to have a tight-knit group of friends who got along with different groups on campus. We loved going to basketball and hockey games, as well as other social events.

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation?
I've been fortunate to have mentors and parents who encouraged me to do what I love and not take a job because it's what everyone else is doing. Coaching is a passion of mine, and staying involved in the game is always something I wanted to do. I learned the most important skills in life from the game and the people I was surrounded by on the baseball field. I want to teach these skills to the guys who come through our program in the hopes that I can help to give them an even better experience than I had.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
Get ahead academically. If you start your career off with good grades and strong practices for achieving those grades, the rest of your time here will be much easier than if you fall behind out of the gate.  It's a lot easier when you aren't playing catch up. Also, speak up if you need something. There are so many resources on this campus in a variety of different areas. If you need help or want to explore something, speak up and someone will help you.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world? 
Babson gives you all the tools you need to prepare yourself to enter the business world a leg up on a lot of your colleagues. You were held to higher standards here, and you will be held to higher standards after college. Don't be afraid to work hard and take your lumps. I'm not too far removed from graduation, and I've been lucky to have people who push me to work hard. Also, don't lose the competitiveness that athletics teaches you. Competing is something you'll do for the rest of your life in different ways.  Keep that edge you learned on the playing field.

Zeke Testa ’13, Assistant Men’s Ice Hockey Coach

What is your most memorable moment as a Babson Athlete?
Winning the ECAC East Championship in 2013.

How did the Babson community prepare you for life after graduation?
The Babson community does a great job making you feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. This really helps in the professional world in case you are in one of those scenarios. You have some familiarity on how to react to it.

Did you have a favorite activity on campus outside of athletics?
Intramural softball (4-time champions)

Why did you choose to enter athletics as your career path upon graduation?
I wanted to continue with the sport that has given me so much over the course of my life.

What is one piece of advice for our first-years starting their careers at Babson?
Never take any season for granted. It is easy to think I'll do better next year or I'm only a first-year, so I have a lot of time left. It goes by a lot faster than you think and every day, whether it's practice or a game, you should cherish it.

What is one piece of advice for our seniors as they leave us and enter the working world? 
There are going to be times during your senior year that things will not go your way.  It is going to be easy to want to check out because you are going to be graduating from your program. Don't do it. It is going to be difficult at first, but keep working hard and keep having fun playing the sport that you love and everything will work itself out.

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