Current and former players reflect on Sean Bair’s impact on their lives as players and young men:

Abdul Janneh — Class of 2020

•  “Not only did he have confidence in me as a player, but he always thought I could go get anything I wanted in the world. He cares for us, not just as a player, but for us to want to better as a man. He wants us to be better fathers when we get the chance."

Jordin Brown — Class of 2017

•  “Whether things were going good or bad, he’d say ‘everything you do, it’s all a part of it.’ That’s one of the things I loved about coach Bair. He’d teach us about things about basketball outside as well. Two of my favorite quotes were ‘assumptions are termites to all relationships.’ The other was ‘communication is protection.’

•  “I definitely miss running up and down. When we’d get a rebound on defense, we’d just run and throw one or two passes and we’re ready to shoot a 3. He definitely orchestrated all of that. You get the rebound and no one’s in front of you, you get going. Shooters get to the corners and get ready to shoot. We don’t do that too much in college, but we’re more to the rim. I definitely miss that and going to the 3-point line.”

Ben Lehman — Class of 2017

•  “Coach Bair had an attitude of, find something to get better at every single day. He was very consistent and never gave up on us even though it took two or three years until we saw results on the court.”

•  “He’d find all these different statistics that you wouldn’t think about and would break it down and simplify it so that we could understand it. It gave us an advantage because we felt ahead of the curve. Freshman year he brought in the offense to jack up a lot of threes. When I first started, that wasn’t really as much of a trend as it is today in NBA, college, high school. He was a little bit ahead of the game.”

•  “The minute he stepped into the New Oxford gym, he started building relationships. He cares how you do on the court, but most importantly, he wants you to get better as a person. It could be the middle of practice, he’d see something was up with you and pull you aside to see if there’s anything that was up he could help with. It made you want to play harder and helped develop your love for the game. It wasn’t just the better players on the team, but every guy on the team loved playing for him. I know I did.”

Noah Strausbaugh — Class of 2020

•  “I didn’t see coach Bair as a coach, I saw him more as a family member and a friend. I had a knee injury my first year and we weren’t on good terms. I worked so hard going into sophomore year and he said, ‘you’re willing enough to play for my team.’ He made me see things differently and more maturely. Even with personal problems I’ve had in the past, he’s always been there. It really did help. I strongly believe if he wasn’t in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Trevor Floyd — Class of 2017

•  “To be honest, we didn’t start out too well at all. Over time I started taking on responsibilities because he put it on me. We butted heads on a lot of things he wanted me to do, but I became more accepting. His personality really made me confident in being a more responsible kind of person and taking on a bigger role than what I had before.”

•  “I would say that I’ve always known he was way too smart to be a high school coach. His brain was not at the level of most other coaches I’ve talked to. It’s just a different level, with his strategy and plays, the way we defended players and teams. I knew from the beginning that he wouldn’t stay at the high school level. I’m glad he isn’t because that mind needs to be used at another level.”

Joey Stiles — Class of 2016

•  “At York High, we were getting beat by a lot. He told me he was going to keep me in the game with the underclassmen because he wanted them to remember how I finished the game. He told me, ‘how you finish this game is how this program is going to be going forward. If you roll over, they’ll roll over too. If you give everything you have until the final, if you play it to the best of your ability, this program is going to get better.’ That’s something I bought into. We were all there to get better. We wanted to win, but he knew and I knew that our program was going to be something special.”

•  “He was a huge part of my life growing up and he showed me that there was so much more to basketball and to what being a good person and an athlete can be. He felt there were so many things we could and should be doing to make this world a better place. He opened my eyes in that way. He helped me see that sports are awesome, but they need to be used to help people and it’s not just about the game.”

•  “One time I had to turn in a paper senior year and my schedule was slammed. I asked if I could turn my paper in after the weekend and he said he’d need it by Friday. I watched another girl in class ask for the same extension and he said, ‘no problem.’ I stayed up until 3 a.m. and turned the paper in. We didn’t talk about it until the end of the year. He said he knew I was going to college, I’d have deadlines in life and I’d have to meet them no matter what was going on. He said he knew I’d do a phenomenal job if I had the weekend, but he wanted to see how I’d react in a pressure situation. Now I’m going to graduate from college and I can’t believe how well he and some other teachers at New Oxford prepared me for it.”

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