By Luke Mich
Last summer, Saint Vincent College appointed Dr. Jeff Mallory as its new Executive Vice President. Mallory, a member of Saint Vincent’s undergraduate class of 2006 and its graduate class 2013, also spent a great amount of time playing basketball, not just for the Bearcats, but overseas in Europe.
Throughout his collegiate athletic career, Mallory was a defining factor for the Bearcats basketball team. A dominant threat in the middle of the court, he helped lead the team to three NAIA National Tournament appearances, was a starter for four years and is the school’s all-time career leader in blocked shots. After his graduation from Saint Vincent as an undergrad in 2006, Mallory went across the Atlantic to play basketball for the Cajasur Cordoba Basketball Club for two seasons in 2007-2009.
“I have great memories of traveling through Spain to play against other teams. Being immersed in the Spanish culture, I was able to become fluent in the Spanish language and still speak it on occasion,” Mallory said.
He also said that while playing in Spain, he was reminded of the people that got him to that moment.
“To be considered a professional meant a lot to me. While I worked hard during that time, I continued to think of the many people that helped me get to that moment—then and now, it was much bigger than basketball.”
Playing basketball in Europe was different than playing at Saint Vincent.
“The European game was more holistic. There was a focus on being very well-rounded, and also individual success never trumped the team’s success,” Mallory explained.
Another factor Mallory mentioned was the length of the season.
“My average season in Europe was eight months as opposed to three months in college. The mental and physical approach was significantly different. I truly appreciated the challenge it posed.”
After playing in Spain, Mallory returned to Saint Vincent, where he became the associate head men’s basketball coach from 2009 to 2012.
“The college coach I played for was one of the main reasons I decided to later coach for the team. I wanted to give back to the game of basketball, as it transformed my life in many ways.”
Mallory added that it was a privilege to help develop the athletes he coached, changing the lives and situations of many.
“You can literally work 24/7, 365 days a year as a coach. It truly is what you make it and I wanted to give student-athletes the best chance at achieving success.”
After his stint as coach and as SVC’s director of campus and multicultural student life, Mallory worked at Duquesne University until he returned to Saint Vincent as the new executive vice president, a position formerly held by President Fr. Paul Taylor, O.S.B. Mallory explained why he returned to Saint Vincent once again.
“The SVC community is very special to my family. I also know first-hand the impact that SVC and the community can deliver to our students. The opportunity to lead the college forward in my role as executive vice president is an honor.”