Interview of the Week – Jerry Kobasa, Seaford Athletic Director
SEAFORD, DE – We are starting a new WBOC web series called “Interview of the Week.” Each week I will interview a local sports figure on Delmarva. Today, we go to lower Sussex County to find out a little more about Seaford Athletic Director Jerry Kobasa.
The 66-year-old is a well known figure in the Delmarva sports community. He has coached for 35 years. Football at Delaware St. and Wesley Junior College. Baseball at Wesley Junior College. Basketball at Smyrna, Sussex Tech and Wesley College.
His love is basketball where he has a 412-239 overall record. This summer, Kobasa decided to leave Wesley to become the athletic director at Seaford high school.
1. Were you born and raised on Delmarva? Where did you go to college? Did you play any sports in college? What was that experience like?
I was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and graduated from North Penn high school. I played football and baseball at Wesley Jr. College and football at Delaware State. I would not trade that experience for anything. I played for two outstanding coaches and they were they very instrumental in my wanting to be a coach. It wasn’t just the coaching but also the life skills they taught me. Quarterbacking at Delaware State and being the only white player on the team one of those years was a great life lesson that was so helpful in my career. 40 years later I am still in contact with many of my former teammates some who have become advisors in different ventures.
2. The question everyone is wondering. Why did you leave coaching at Wesley for the athletic director job at Seaford high school?
I get that question from everyone. My answer is ‘Why Not.” It is another new challenge, and it has been fun trying to build programs and leaving them in better situations when you move on. I will miss the competition of coaching against so many wonderful coaches and programs but I am hoping we can have an impact a larger group of young student athletes both on the men’s and women’s side. Also the leadership from the Seaford School Board, District Office, High School and Middle School has been amazing. It is always exciting trying to do things that people say can’t be done. I am very lucky to be a part of such a great team of individuals.
3. What are your short and long term goals at Seaford high school?
Starting out we are trying to find the right people for each coaching position. Positive people with a positive outlook. There is a line in a Jimmy Buffet song that says “Yesterday is over my shoulder, I can’t look back for too long because there is too much to see waiting in front of me and I know I can’t go wrong.” We are looking at this as a new era in Seaford athletics. If we can stay true to the course no matter what adversity comes, become competitive in all sport a new tradition will begin. These young athletes that are seniors with leadership skills can leave their legacy.
4. Would you ever get back into coaching at any level? Maybe the Seaford boys basketball program?
That is another question that is always asked. Right now I have job to do that is very important to the Seaford District, which is looking after all of our sports and coaches. That is where the focus has to be at this point in time. In some respect I will be coaching coaches. With their success will come District wide success. With coaching basketball again I have learned to say “Never Say Never.” I really enjoyed the family atmosphere around the players. It is a wonderful experience seeing them grow up to become young adults. Being around them keeps me young at heart.
5. What advice would you give to high school student-athletes hoping to play any sport at the collegiate level?
The first thing we talk about is that no matter how much talent they have it is about the academics first. No grades no play. We have to instill in our young kids that playing sports is a privilege not an entitlement. You always hear athletes who have finished their careers say I wish I could still be on the field playing and some athletes the older they get the better they were. Take care of your business and it will be a lifetime of memories.
6. How has social media changed high school and college athletics? Recruiting? Coaching?
It has changed athletics so much, both good and bad. In recruiting you might not be able to get out to see a potential player but be able to pull up video on him or her. In that respect does save a lot of time and travel. We always see the young elite athletes on the major sports networks and now schools are recruiting 8th and 9th graders. That gets a little scary. They are just kids and it would be nice to let them grow up first. I also think one thing that is also missing with our young kids is their communication skills. With Facebook, Twitter, email and texting nobody talks to each other anymore. There are times when I would call a player and no answer. Text them right back and they text you right away. My next text is please answer your phone. Verbal communication seems to be a lost art.