Last month, as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the southeast United States, head men’s basketball coach Jon Yeh was working amidst a different kind of tropical storm.
Yeh was 1,100 miles away in Bermuda working with the island’s Team Hurricane basketball club. The fourth-year head coach led a three-day clinic September 8-10 on the island for players ages 12 to 18 years old. Bermuda is the seventh country outside the United States in which Yeh has taught basketball.
The trip was set in motion 10 years ago when Yeh, at the time the head men’s coach at Eastern Nazarene College, randomly sat next to Team Hurricane head coach Douglas Reed at a coaching clinic on the campus of Yale University in Connecticut. Reed at the time was a youth basketball coach in New York City.
“We started casually chatting between sessions and grabbed lunch together, throwing X’s and O’s back and forth,” said Yeh. “We stayed in touch over the years via Facebook. Doug got married and moved back home to Bermuda about five years ago and has been inviting me to come to ‘Paradise’ ever since. After several years, I finally took him up on the offer and the dates worked for everyone.”
In Bermuda, Yeh led the Hurricane club in three days of practice sessions consisting of skill work and scrimmages. Some of the players were newer to the nuances of the game, while others had been to higher level camps in the U.S.
“The kids worked extremely hard, listened well, and were full of respect the entire time. That’s a great testament to them, their parents, and their coaches,” commented Yeh. “A lot of the drills I did with them were brand new, but they jumped right in and did their best, being open to coaching drill by drill.”
Reed operates Team Hurricane completely through sponsorships and corporate partnerships so the kids in the program pay very little. While the number of competitive games the group plays is limited because of geography, he does provide opportunities for his group to travel to the U.S. and Canada to participate in camps and showcase events.
“Doug goes all out for these kids. I was very impressed with the heart he has for them,” boasted Yeh. “That made it easy for me to share the biblically-based philosophy and mission we have at Truett McConnell with the club.”
“We’ll definitely keep the relationship going . . . personally and professionally,” said Yeh. “Perhaps in the next few years, Team Hurricane can come to a camp or showcase on campus here in Georgia.”
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