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Wagner’s Bashir Mason balancing student-teaching with coaching

Oct 16, 2013, 8:00 PM EST

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For a college basketball coach, the ability to manage one’s time is incredibly important. With the need to work with their current players, recruit future players, go over plans with their assistants and even take part in the glad-handing that’s become an important aspect of coaching at a high level (read: donations from boosters), head coaches have a lot on their plates every day.

For Wagner head coach Bashir Mason, the exercise of managing his time has an additional activity: he’s a student-teacher at an elementary school in Staten Island, N.Y., completing the final semester of his master’s degree in education. And in a story written by Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times, it’s clear that Mason has more on his plate than the average college head coach:

When Wagner promoted him from assistant coach to head coach in March 2012, after Dan Hurley left to coach Rhode Island, Mason had only a few credits remaining. But this last requirement — 220 hours of hands-on classroom experience — has required unusual commitment.

Five mornings a week, Mason works with Maria Premus at the Michael J. Petrides School for about two hours, always before basketball practice begins. On Fridays, Mason teaches, coaches and then attends class on campus for three hours in the afternoon.

Throughout the country many high schools require their athletic coaches to also be members of the faculty, teaching during the school day and then transitioning to a coaching role after school. And while that was even the case in college some years ago, the sharp increase in coaching salaries (and those additional fundraising/media responsibilities) has meant that coaches who also teach have become rare.

Temple’s Fran Dunphy teaches an honors business course at the school, and Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga will give a few lectures this semester as a faculty member in Miami’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences.

Wagner’s one of the teams expected to contend in the Northeast Conference, and there’s likely no better way for Coach Mason to celebrate the completion of his master’s than to led the Seahawks to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003.