From player, to coach & administrator, the Division III promise:
The story of Jeff Juron
Growing up in upstate New York, filled with small towns and competitive high school sports, Jeff Juron always had bigger city dreams. His father, Don Juron, was a very successful high school basketball coach in Albany, coaching at numerous high schools throughout the city as well as a stint as an assistant coach at Hudson Valley Community College. Jeff’s mom, Jami, spent her career working as an engineer. He also grew up with two siblings, Pat and Jenna.
Jeff attended Burnt-Hills Ballston Spa High School in Burnt Hills, New York, where he played varsity basketball and was recruited to play point guard at the University of Rochester.
Following a superb high school career, Juron went on to play point guard for the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets, while also majoring in Political Science and English. “When I first decided on my major at Rochester, I always thought it was going to lead into a decision to attend law school.” Said Juron. Juron was awarded All-UAA honorable mention in each of the four years he played at University of Rochester.
Following an outstanding four years at Rochester, both athletically and academically, Juron expanded his playing days overseas as he packed his bags and headed to the Netherlands for a year to play semi-pro basketball before returning to the United States. He played for BC Vlijmscherp in Den Bosch, Netherlands, while also spending time coaching and running instructional clinics for the community in Netherlands.
Juron returned to the states from overseas in 2009 and returned to his hometown of Albany where served as the assistant coach for the Skidmore men’s basketball team in the 2009-2010 season. While coaching at Skidmore, Juron still had his heart set on attending Law School. “During the year I was the assistant coach at Skidmore I studied for my LSATS. I still believed I was going to end up going to law school.”
Following a very transformative year for Juron where he became a lot more serious in a decision to begin a career coaching basketball, he followed Skidmore head coach Luke Flockerzi to the University of Rochester, where he would return to his alma mater to assistant coach the Yellow Jackets for five seasons under Flockerzi.
“Luckily I was able to follow coach Flockerzi to Rochester and remain as his assistant coach after he got the head coaching position following the resignation of my head coach while I was at Rochester.” Said Juron.
From a standout point guard for the Yellow Jackets to an assistant coach at the same program, Juron proved his ability to be part of the Rochester community in more ways than one. At Rochester, Juron’s main responsibilities were in the player development sector of coaching. He spent a lot of his offseason scouting and recruiting for the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets were very successful during Juron’s tenure there as in the five seasons he was on the bench for Rochester they went 81-49. While serving as the assistant coach for five years at Rochester, Juron also pursued an advanced degree and received his Masters of Business Administration from the Simon School of Business at Rochester in 2014.
“He was a great player to coach and a lot of that has translated over to him as a coach. He knows the game inside and out and he is a very good teacher of the game. He can relate to the players, which I believe is one of his greatest assets.” Said Luke Flockerzi, head coach at University of Rochester.
Juron’s journey through the ranks and his commitment to stay in Division III shows a lot about his character and his love for the sport of basketball as well as passions for academics and extracurricular activities. “Division III gives students the ability to pursue some passions off the court or in addition to the game of basketball.” Said Juron. He also added, “I enjoy the fact that basketball doesn’t run your life at this level. Students should have the ability to take advantage of all college has to offer. With this being said, we still make sure the players show large signs of commitment and to be engaged when they are on the court”
Juron was named the head coach for Suffolk men’s basketball prior to the 2015-2016 season and packed his bags for a huge move to the city of Boston. Being brought into a program that had been struggling for recent years is sort of what gave Juron the motivation to take the position and run with it. “I entered into a very typical new coaching situation in college basketball. We have a very young roster and we are trying to build for future success.” Said Juron. “The situation with the basketball program here is that we are very young. So in the time that I’ve been here, we have had to take a few steps back to begin my time here rather than taking steps forward.”
While he’s not on the bench calling the X’s and O’s for the Suffolk men’s basketball team, Juron is serving as the assistant athletic director for the Suffolk University athletic administration. “Athletic administration was never something that I shot for when I got into coaching. I always just wanted to be a basketball coach. While at Rochester I ran the club sports program at did a lot with game management for athletics.” Said Juron.
Juron’s role as the assistant athletic director at Suffolk entails a little bit more than he had while at Rochester. Much of his job entails doing some scheduling for non full-time athletic coaches, overseeing student workers in the athletic department, running game management for Suffolk spring sports, as well as running the club sports program at Suffolk. “I am very excited to have Jeff here with us at Suffolk. He brings a lot of division III athletic experience from his five years at Rochester and he also just brings a genuine love for athletics and for the game of basketball.” Said Jaclyn Smith, associate director of athletics at Suffolk and head coach for the Suffolk Softball team.
Being brought into a situation with many young guys and a lot of work to be done, Juron believes he has already made much progress in his first two seasons at the helm for the Suffolk Rams. “My experience here at Suffolk so far has been great. I went into this coaching job knowing that I might have to take a few steps back before we take them forward, but after two seasons I am really excited the direction we are going in as a program.” Said Juron. When talking more about the attitude he expects day in and day out from his players, he added,” We need to stay focused not just on the wins and losses, but getting better each day and the things we know that it takes to play at the highest level here.”
Juron is able to recognize upfront the sort of setbacks or disadvantages his team is dealing with and doing this has given him confidence moving forward. “We had no seniors this year. Our roster was made up of eight freshmen, five sophomores, and two juniors. Many of our problems this season, understandably, was due to youth and lack of maturity.” Said Juron. “A lot of these young guys were thrown right into fire to start their career at Suffolk, and that can be hard, but as the season progressed our guys matured a lot and I’m excited where we stand going into next season.”
In talking with Juron about his coaching style and where he places the most emphasis while coaching, I found out a lot about what he also focused on during his days as a college basketball player. “When we talk about it front a purely basketball and strategic point of view first and foremost I am a defensive minded coach.” Said Juron. “After every game we talk about defense, how we valued possession, how we took care of the ball, and we talk about our shot selection. We want to defend, we want to take care of the basketball, and we want good shots.”
Juron has high hopes for where his team is going in the near future. Suffolk Basketball has already locked up two commitments for the class of 2021 and they are still hoping to lock up some more as the time for committing to college is hot right now. “We already two and if you ask me in a month I am sure we will have some more.” Said Juron.
You can listen to the full audio interview here:
Writer Biography: Jordan Karnes
Jordan Karnes grew up in the small town of Warwick, Rhode Island. He attended a college preparatory school in East Greenwich, Rhode Island called Rocky Hill School before attending Springfield College where studied Communications/Sports Journalism. With a desire to receive an advanced degree in the fields of Public Relation and Advertising, Jordan decided to attend Suffolk University where he is currently working of his master’s degree in communication with a specialization in Public Relations & Advertising.
When Jordan is not in the classroom, he is currently serving as the media relation’s intern for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In his free time he enjoys watching and playing sports, spending time with his family and puppies, as well as collecting shoes and flags from different countries. He also loves traveling and make connections wherever he is going.
Jordan is a huge sports fanatic. He has been actively following major league sports and especially his favorite Boston teams since around five years old when his dad introduced him. His favorite memory of Boston sports is when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 to reverse the curse and he was able to watch the whole game with his dad.