Former York-Adams coach named NCAA D-I assistant on Monmouth women's basketball staff
When Sean Bair got into coaching college basketball, he knew it would involve changing jobs and locations.
Or at least he thought he knew how it worked.
The former New Oxford High School boys’ basketball head coach is now on his third college coaching position in three seasons. He's also moved four times, after recently being named an assistant coach for the NCAA Division I Monmouth University women’s basketball team.
“You kind of know what you're getting into, at least in theory,” Bair said. “People tell you, but until you really are going through it, it's definitely not something I would say you can really prepare for and something that is impossible unless you have the absolute right team of support with you.
"You're trying to do something that a lot of other people would be willing to do a lot of different things for. So, I was trying to break into full-time basketball for a while. I got really lucky, obviously, but you can't lose sight of the fact that there's a ton of people who would absolutely love to have your job.
"So, that means you gotta work really hard, it means you gotta be willing to sacrifice a lot of different things and it means that when the right opportunity comes, you gotta take it because it might not might not come around every year for you.”
His college journey: The former York-Adams League coach initially joined the University of Arkansas men’s basketball staff as a graduate assistant in 2019.
After one season, he became the director of video and analytics for Penn State women’s basketball and met Ginny Boggess, who was an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions.
In April, Boggess became the head coach at Monmouth, and based on her experiences working with Bair, she wanted him to be part of her coaching staff. As an assistant coach, Bair’s duties now include recruiting and directly instructing players during practices and games, which is something he wasn’t allowed to do under NCAA rules as a graduate assistant or director of video.
Bair said he had received offers for other coaching positions, but the bond he built with Boggess was unique and offered him a chance to grow as a coach while getting back to do what he loves most.
“It was more so not just coaching, but coaching with her and carrying out what she believes in, because I knew it was aligned with my beliefs as well,” Bair said. “That's where I'm really comfortable and also where my passion lies.
"So, it’s a good fit for me with a chance to showcase and really put my stamp on a program with the things I'm really confident in, which are the coaching and on-the-floor aspects, but also have room to grow and learn from an awesome staff in the recruiting side as well.”
Big job looms: Boggess and Bair will have a big job ahead of them. Monmouth was 2-16 last season and has an 11-38 record over the past two years. The Hawks haven't had a winning record since 2012-13.
Boggess replaces Jody Craig, who resigned March 10, two days after being suspended by the university for the Hawks' Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament game against Rider. The reasons for her departure and suspension were not disclosed.
Boggess believes Bair will help Monmouth get back on track.
"Sean is a home run hire and the perfect fit to round out our staff," Boggess said on the Monmouth sports website. "An ardent connector and mentor, I've seen first-hand how much Sean pours into a program. He won my respect at Penn State with his industrious work ethic and quickly proved to also have a very advanced basketball mind and be a natural teacher of the game."
Giving credit to his wife: Bair credited his wife, Alex, with being supportive and making it possible for them to relocate so often in the past three years.
The pair also welcomed twin daughters, Ada and Willa, earlier this year, so the career change has been one of many adjustments for Bair.
As he joins a new family at Monmouth, Bair said he doesn’t plan on making another move anytime soon. He will always be open to opportunities, but was excited about building up a program again, like he did at New Oxford, where built the Colonials into a York-Adams power.
Despite the constant changing of addresses and time spent searching for new homes, Bair is grateful for the opportunities he’s been given. With each new job, he believes that he proves he made the right choice to chase his goal of coaching in college.
“On one level, I'm living out my dream and that's an incredible feeling. I've been lucky to see some positive results from that and that's validated my belief in myself and everything, which is great," he said.
"But I also know that there's a ton of people working in college basketball right now, who are way smarter than me, who work just as hard as me, who've been doing it longer than me, who just haven't been as lucky, and that's a really humbling thing.
"I'm just really thankful to be in the situation that I'm in with the family that we're building and their support, and just kind of keep taking it one day at a time.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.