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Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson
Scott Garson, gold medal winning Assistant Coach of the Youth Men's Basketball team at the European Maccabi Games, on his first involvement with Maccabi USA, his experiences in Berlin, and more.
August 28, 2015
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(Photo Credit: Matthew Halpern)

As the Head Basketball Coach at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, ID, Scott Garson does not have much opportunity to interact with Jews.  “By moving here, I tripled the Jewish population of Caldwell!” joked Scott.  The European Maccabi Games provided Coach Garson with the opportunity to re-connect with Judaism in an athletic setting, a “once in a lifetime experience that changed my life in a positive way from the standpoint of being a Jew.”

For most of his life Scott has been aware of Maccabi USA.  His father coached and he played Basketball at the JCC Maccabi Games, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Scott had his first chance to represent Maccabi USA.  Bruce Pearl, current NCAA Basketball Coach, and at the time the Head Coach of the Open Men’s Basketball team at the 2009 Maccabiah Games, invited Scott to be his Assistant Coach. Scott had to decline, but his head was turned and he knew he had to get involved somehow.

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(Photo Credit: Mark Susson)

Fast forward six years later to the 2015 Jewish Coaches Association Breakfast at the NCAA Basketball Final Four.  Scott was awarded the 2015 Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award, and Adam Chaskin, the Head Coach of the Open Men’s Basketball team for the European Maccabi Games, was in attendance. Small talk turned to deep conversation, and Adam offered Scott the position as the Assistant Coach for his team. “I told him to give me 24 hours to check my schedule,” recalls Scott, “and then it was an absolutely!”

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(Photo Credit: Mark Susson)

(Scott Garson, Left, and Adam Chaskin, Right)

At the European Maccabi Games, Scott Garson helped lead the Youth Men’s Basketball team to a gold medal as the Assistant Coach, defeating Israel in the final. “As good and as fun as the basketball was,” said Scott, “the best parts were the experiences outside of the competition – particularly being Jewish in Berlin.”

Garson’s favorite day of the trip was July 28, the day that Maccabi USA’s Youth and Juniors athletes visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp before celebrating at the Opening Ceremony.  For him, the juxtaposition of the sorrow and horrors befitting a concentration camp compared to the jubilation and celebration of the Opening Ceremony was one he will never forget.  “That particular day made an impression on me more than any other day,” exclaimed Garson. “Going from a concentration camp to turning around and singing Hatikvah with thousands of Jews at Hitler’s Olympic Park? Wow.”

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(Photo Credit: Mark Susson)

Asked for his final thoughts on his experiences in Europe, Scott said, “It was an important thing to do. One of the top experiences in my life, without question.”

 

Previously:

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

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