A Former Student-Athlete in the Real World

Sean Salomons ’19 recalls ‘some of the best years of my life’
By Andrew Capitelli

Sean Salomons ’19 has fond memories of his time as a two-sport athlete at the Brooklyn Campus and is thankful for the unique perspective that being a student-athlete gave him.

“As a member of the men’s basketball and volleyball teams, I began to see other people’s perspectives and understand how they think,” he said. “When you branch out into professional life, it’s about the bigger picture and what’s best for the group.”

Post-graduation, Mr. Salomons leveraged his experience to forge a career in coaching, serving as head coach of the Brooklyn Campus men’s volleyball team and director of player development at Supreme Basketball NYC – an AAU program for boys in grades 4-12.

A headshot picture of Sean Salomons

“We wanted to do something similar but expand on the academic side of AAU basketball, focusing on students’ grades and ultimately trying to help them play college basketball,” Mr. Salomons said.

Most AAU programs focus strictly on the basketball side of college preparation: skill development, games and tournaments. But Mr. Salomons – who knows a thing or two about being a student-athlete – saw the value in stressing academic focus.

“We have regular GPA check-ins with student-athletes, and from there we work with a number of different resources to make sure they get help if they need it,” he said. “We also help them prepare for regents, SATs and ACTs.

“There are far fewer programs that emphasize academics as we do. But we also help on the recruiting side, helping families understand the process. I think that level of care sets us apart from other AAU programs,” he added.

Supreme Basketball’s emphasis on academics and recruiting dovetails nicely with Mr. Salomons’ role at St. Joseph’s, where he is heavily involved in ensuring student-athlete eligibility.

His alumni status, insight as a player development director and experience as a former student-athlete have paid dividends since becoming the men’s volleyball team head coach in 2020.

“As a younger coach, a parent will sometimes have questions about your life experience and how you’re going to take care of their son,” he said. “Ultimately, you’re trying to sell them on being a part of a team and the St. Joseph’s family. Being an alumnus helps because you know a lot of professors by name, you know the programs and how they operate, and you know what to expect as a student-athlete.”

Mr. Salomons insists it’s important for alumni to give back to the University.

“Alumni should aim to be present,” he said. “Put your name out there – contact the alumni association, join SJNYConnect, be a mentor, whatever you can do, just be available.”