By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Bobby Brackett helped transition The College of New Jersey men’s basketball team. When he arrived, the team was struggling. However, when he left, the team made it to the NJAC playoffs and went 18-8 on the season.
Now, the former Division III athlete is a graduate assistant at Wheeling Jesuit University, a Division II school in Wheeling, West Virginia. Scott Bittner, the Stockton University men’s basketball coach, contacted TCNJ men’s basketball head coach Matt Goldsmith and informed him that his friend, Danny Sancomb, was looking for a graduate assistant late in the summer.
Brackett interviewed for the process late — yet still received the job, while given an opportunity to earn his Master’s Degree. He is one of two graduate assistants on the coaching staff, joined by Steve Bridgeman.
He has played outside of New Jersey, as he played for an All-Star team overseas before. Yet, this is the first-time that he has been apart of a college team outside of the Garden State after playing for Bloomfield Bears in Bloomfield, New Jersey and TCNJ in Ewing, New Jersey.
He also played at Lawrence High School in his hometown of Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
“It’s definitely different and out of my comfort zone to be this far from home,” Brackett said. “I’ve always been in New Jersey and for the most part, I’ve always been in Mercer County. Sometimes, I think to myself, ‘Wow, I’m really living in West Virginia right now.'”
Brackett had to get used to his environment.
“It’s definitely different out in Wheeling than Lawrence, but not as different as I thought [it was] going [to be] out there,” Brackett said. “The team is really fun to be around, so that takes my mind off of being far from home.”
He is nearly six hours away from his hometown. Yet, the Cardinals are presently 11-2 on the season. They are on a three-game win streak, including a 6-0 start at home.
They are also the No. 19th ranked team in the NABC Division II poll. Wheeling Jesuit advanced to the Sweet 16 last season, before losing to Fairmount State in the Atlantic Regional Final, who lost in the Division II Championship game.
Brackett, who was a member of the Lions Class of 2017, added a minor in Management when he missed the 2015-16 season due to an Achilles injury.
That injury prevented him from having a professional career overseas. He had a second surgery on his Achilles, which he admitted ended his playing career.
With his playing career over, this position still allows him to stay involved with a team.
“I obviously love basketball and this is the best option to continue to be part of a team,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than winning games and seeing the team get better every day. I love being part of a team and working my hardest to help our team be successful.”
Brackett said there was a backup plan before this Wheeling Jesuit job presented itself. He said he was going to coach for a team in Pennsylvania, but he couldn’t be happier about his decision.
“Luckily, everything happens for a reason and I’m at a great spot coaching basketball and working towards my MBA,” Brackett said. “I love coaching so far. My head coach and other assistants have been great to me. I learn from them every day and I love being part of a team still. I know we’ll get better every week.”
Brackett hopes to be a full-time coach one day. He hopes to coach as long as he can, he said. He would also like to be a head coach one day.
“I think he’ll do great,” Goldsmith said. “He loves the game, he cares about the game. He is a student of the game. He’s going to be a great coach. He works really hard. I’ve heard nothing but great things from the head coach that he’s working for. I think Bobby is going to be a phenomenal coach. His career is just getting started. He’s doing a lot for them. He’s helping with recruiting and he’s in practices, so he’s learning a ton. I think he’s going to be a great asset to a lot of programs throughout his career.”