Former student athletes return to BYU as coaches, part 3

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Editor’s note: This is part three of a three part series on former BYU athletes who have returned to BYU in coaching positions. See part one and part two online at universe.byu.edu.


 

Coaches inspire their athletes. They see a player’s skill set and potential and push them toward greatness. The bond between a coach and an athlete is special and can last a lifetime.

Many BYU coaches never planned on coaching. They had different interests back when they were student athletes and wanted to either to play professionally or pursue a career outside of sports. But they were inspired by the influences of their coaches as student athletes, and now they can’t imagine doing anything else.

Tamber McAllister

Tamber McAllister swam for BYU from 2000-2004. McAllister has been an assistant swimming coach since 2004. (BYU Photo)
Tamber McAllister swam for BYU from 2000-2004. McAllister has been an assistant swimming coach since 2004. (BYU Photo)

Tamber McAllister came from an aquatic family. Her mother was a swim coach and her father was a diving coach. It was no surprise that McAllister would also become involved in swimming.

“I learned to love it,” McAllister said.

McAllister knew she wanted to swim at a collegiate level by her freshman year of high school. She knew she had a good shot of recruitment during her junior year after her Olympic trials cut. McAllister was recruited by several schools and wasn’t interested in BYU at the time, but was surprised with the outcome of her visit to the BYU campus.

“I thought maybe my swimming career would be better off somewhere else,” McAllister said. “But I was surprised how I felt when I came here. Right after I got home, the coach sent me a letter and it said something to the effect of ‘When you take out swimming, where do you think you will be most happy?'”

McAllister felt she could be successful in swimming at any of colleges recruiting her. She also knew that injuries could happen and end her athletic career. The letter from the coach made McAllister ask herself where she’d be most happy. McAllister then knew BYU was for her.

McAllister’s love for BYU has continued to grow since her student athlete career. McAllister has coached at the high school and club levels, but finds greater joy coaching young adults at the collegiate level. Her experience as a former student athlete at an Olympic trial level has allowed her to understand and relate to the athletes with high goals and the detail needed to achieve those goals. She understands their feelings on hard days and knows what it takes to push through those tough moments.

When asked about her favorite part about coaching, McAllister gives a humble response. It is not her personal success or impact. It is not recognition or awards and championships. It’s about the swimmers on the team.

“I don’t look at it as me trying to have an impact on them, but I am impacted by them every single day,” McAllister said. “They’re amazing. They have so much going on in their lives and they’re able to balance it all. They’re just strong individuals. It’s fun to see them succeed at that level.”

Bruce Brockbank

Bruce Brockbank played for the BYU men's golf team. Brockbank has now coached for BYU for 24 years. (BYU Photo)
Bruce Brockbank played for the BYU men’s golf team. Brockbank has now coached for BYU for 24 years. (BYU Photo)

Bruce Brockbank considers himself fortunate for growing up in Provo. Having the opportunity to play at the Riverside Country Club and interact with BYU golfers who helped inspire his lifelong dream to play golf for BYU.

“I took a liking to it at a young age and I couldn’t get enough of it,” Brockbank said. “It’s been a privilege to play.”

Brockbank started playing golf when he was around 8 years old. He was also a caddy for the country clubwhich allowed him to observe and learn from young men on the BYU golf team and other professionals. He was heavily influenced to improve his game and stay positive.

Eventually the time came to go to college and Brockbank made the decision to go to BYU. Brockbank wasn’t tempted to play for any other school.

“It was something I really wanted to do,” Brockbank said. “It’s been an incredible ride so far. You don’t just find a better place.”

Brockbank originally planned on becoming a golf representative or professional. Coaching never crossed his mind. One day Brockbank’s was approached by his head coach, who asked him to replace him after retirement. That made Brockbank think about the possibilities of staying involved with BYU and college golf.

Feeling it was the right place and right time, Brockbank started coaching. He’s been with BYU since 1992 and has coached 16 All-Americans and 10 Academic All-Americans in his career. Brockbank was also named WCC Coach of the Year in 2013-2014, and his teams have ranked nationally in the top-20 golf programs.

But Brockbank isn’t into coaching for the recognition. The joy of coaching is being with the young men on his team and helping them become successful on and off the golf course during their four years at BYU.

“(It’s) watching kids come into your program with a dream of playing golf,” Brockbank said. “Watching a kid develop his skills to where he becomes really successful, gets his degree and builds a stronger foundation. I love when kids come back and they have their own families. That’s really rewarding to me, seeing them doing the things that are really important in life.”

Aleisha Rose

Aleisha Rose plays for BYU. Rose is now in her 11th year of coaching. (BYU Photo)
Aleisha Rose plays for BYU. Rose is now in her 11th year of coaching. (BYU Photo)

Aleisha Rose grew up around soccer and basketball for as long as she can remember. It seemed she was always at a sports game watching her siblings play, observing the motions and giving it a try herself on the sidelines.

Observing games transitioned to playing in recreational leagues. Eventually Rose moved into competitive soccer and played against older girls. She also played basketball, but it wasn’t until high school Rose realized she needed to make a choice. An opportunity came to play soccer on one of the national teams.

“I was weighing my options and realized I had more opportunities with soccer,” Rose said.

Focusing on soccer paid off and Rose moved her way up among the national teams.

Rose was also named the 1999 National High School Player of the Year. She was pursued by several colleges during this time and remembers narrowing down her options to four potential schools. BYU was the last school Rose visited and knew BYU was distinctly different from the other campuses she visited. From the good environment to the chemistry on the team, Rose knew going to BYU would be a great opportunity for success. She received several awards during her career as a student athlete and never planned on coaching after graduation.

Jennifer Rockwood, head coach of the BYU soccer team, was Rose’s coach during her time at BYU. Rockwood asked Rose if she ever thought about coaching for BYU because of an opening in the staff.

“I never thought about coaching, I always imagined playing,” Rose said. “But it got me thinking, ‘Woah, there’s an opportunity to coach at BYU. That’s amazing.’ So I kind of jumped on it.”

The transition from playing on the field to coaching on the sidelines was a great learning curve. Simple instinctual moves for Rose on the field were hard to explain to her athletes. Challenges Rose faces as a coach consist of knowing how to communicate to each athlete in a way she will understand and motivating her in ways she needs. But Rose gladly takes those challenges because coaching has become her passion.

“I love coaching,” Rose said. “Before it used to be about me, but now it’s about the girls. I feel like it’s the best job in the world. I feel so lucky because these girls are so humble and hardworking and coachable. It’s been the best experience for me.”

 

 

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