In just one season, Rochester College Head Basketball coach Klint Pleasant has made his mark not only as a winning coach, but also as the leader of a team honored for its character on and off the court.
On June 1, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the governing body for approximately 350 small-college athletics programs in the United States, honored Pleasant as the Association of Independent Institutions 2012 NAIA Coach of Character.
The AII Conference, made up of 34 college institutions throughout the United States, honors one coach each year whose program displays the NAIA five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
This honor carries extra value, as this past year was Rochester College’s first year in the NAIA and AII.
“This award is humbling,” Pleasant said. “I had no idea. I am grateful for the nomination as well as being recognized from this association. I hope this will solidify our standing with the NAIA moving forward and bring some recognition to Rochester College.”
Sean Mattia, a student-athlete at Rochester College and point guard who helped nominated Pleasant, said, “The amount of work Coach Pleasant puts in to build up our character on and off the court is absolutely incredible. He emphasizes each day that not only does he want us to be the best player on the court but he emphasizes how he thrives on us being the best friend, son, brother and student we can possibly be. Not only does he coach basketball, he coaches life.”
The award has shared meaning with Rochester College President Rubel Shelly. “This award means that Rochester College is being true to its mission,” Shelly said. “We have promised to provide for the intellectual, social and athletic development of the men and women who attend here in a Christian environment. Klint and his staff in are following through on that promise. The award is certainly an honor for Coach Pleasant at a personal level. It is also and affirmation of everything we are doing as a Christian college.”
Sticking to the mission of Rochester College has not been a tough task for Coach Pleasant as it is “the way” for him and his coaching staff. “The mission of Rochester College stands for all the things that end up making a team great like unselfishness, discipline, being on time, and giving your best. These are things we stand for,” said Coach Pleasant.
Taking over for his father, Garth Pleasant, Coach Pleasant stated that he simply followed the blue print his dad had left. “We just kept doing the same things my dad did for 38 years,” he said. “The important thing has been the kind of student-athletes that we have recruited, guys who fit the personality and mission of the college. When these guys get here, we simply focus on the things that we think are important like servant leadership, leaving the locker room cleaner than how we found it, the way we act in restaurants and hotels, the way we act before and after a game. These are things that we are always talking about and are always emphasizing.
“This is an award for our team and for our guys and for the other coaches too, because they all have embraced the Champions of Character attitude,” Pleasant said.
–by Jordan Ackerman, Sports Information Director