Branching Out

by Alanna Grady / Beacon Staff • September 6, 2012

Bball mattz
Dan Bisaccio and Drew Venter are involved with basketball in their post-graduate careers.
Dan Bisaccio and Drew Venter are involved with basketball in their post-graduate careers.

Emerson athletes are used to communicating with their teammates on the field and the court. 

That communication can be valuable in other areas as well, particularly when it can lead to career-building connections after graduation. 

Two former Emerson men’s basketball players, Dan Bisaccio and Alex Yoh, accepted positions as graduate assistants with the women’s basketball team at Marquette University, said Emerson Head Coach Jim O’Brien.

 The opportunity for Bisaccio and Yoh was made possible by O’Brien, who said he learned about the open positions through a conversation with his daughter, an administrative assistant with Marquette women’s basketball. 

 Yoh and Bisaccio, both of whom graduated in May with degrees in broadcast journalism, will attend graduate school for two years at Marquette, where they will pursue Masters degrees in communication.

 Connections have strength in bringing about chances to move up not only in the sports world, but in other arenas as well, O’Brien said.

 “When you think about why kids decide to come to Emerson, making a sports connection is one of the last things you would think of,” the coach said. “It’s because of the internships, networking, and willingness of Emerson alums to help Emerson students.”

Other examples include General Manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sam Presti, Emerson class of 2000.  Presti has been the General Manager of the Thunder since 2007.

Presti’s story of success coincides with those of other Emerson graduates, including fellow Emerson alumnus Rob Hennigan ‘04, who was named General Manager of the Orlando Magic in June. 

Hennigan got his start when Presti, who at the time was Assistant General Manager of the San Antonio Spurs, gave him an internship with the team, according to Interim Athletic Director Stanford Nance. From there, he moved on to the position of Oklahoma City Assistant General Manager before joining the Magic.  

 “It’s amazing because I know these individuals,” said Nance, speaking of the two general managers. “[Hennigan] just turned 30 in March, and he’s already working his dream job. He learned his craft and leadership skills at Emerson. It’s something that we want all of our student athletes to have. They have a commitment that is second to none.”

Joining O’Brien’s staff this year is another Emerson alum, Drew Venter, who graduated in May with a degree in broadcast journalism.

 O’Brien said Venter’s knowledge of the ins and outs of life as an Emerson student will be beneficial to his team.

 “Drew brings a lot to our staff,” O’Brien said. “His connection to Emerson is a big thing. He gives knowledge to the freshman about how you can weather the storm early on, and brings a world of knowledge about Emerson the college.”

 This experience will be helpful not only for freshmen on Venter’s own team, but for other recruits as well.

 This year, Emerson drew in a large recruiting class, which Nance said nearly doubles that of past years.

 “I’ve been here since 2003,” Nance said. “We would get 42 recruited students a year. This year we have 73, which is a direct result of our coaching staff.” 

 O’Brien, who helped to recruit nine freshman and one transfer student, said that he was happy to do what he could for former Emerson players.

 Like Hennigan and Presti’s examples, success stories usually start with hard work and knowing the right people.

 “Emerson has developed its little niche,” O’Brien said. “It speaks volumes for the work ethic of these people. Not many of these guys walked into high positions. It shows that they are qualified, quality people.”