The University of Dallas is an interesting school in that it instructs its students both academically, athletically, and morally to live better lives both on and off the field. Two of the premier UD athletes have come from the UD basketball team, and the UDs volleyball team, Tom Kaiser, and Jessie Koster.
When asked what it was like playing for the UD basketball team with his teammates, Kaiser said, “It was a good experience. Growing up I always wanted to play college basketball. I’m glad I got that opportunity at the University of Dallas.”
Kaiser, who played center for the UD basketball team from 2013 to 2017, had some impressive stats. Appearing in 101 games over the four seasons, Kaiser averaged 11 points a game, shot 70.6% field goal percentage, and had 5.6 rebounds a game. The six-foot-seven senior from Nashville, Tenn., majored in psychology and played basketball and football at Montgomery Bell Academy.
After receiving the nomination for SCAC Man of the Year Award, Kaiser was asked what went through his mind when he found out. “It was a really big honor, because it focused on academic achievement and community service, in addition to basketball. I was thankful to be recognized for that honor,” Kaiser said. The center was on the All-SCAC Sportsmanship Team from 2016-17.
Kaiser also had the coaching of ten year UD basketball coach Jarred Samples behind him. When asked what it was like to coach Kaiser and his teammates on the basketball team from 2013 to 2017, Coach Samples said, “For me, it was a lot of fun to watch those guys grow both on and off the court. They became better players, but they also became better men. What they learned over those four years, they will be able to carry with them the rest of their lives.”
When Coach Samples was asked about his reaction to Kaiser being nominated for the SCAC Man of the Year Award, he said, “I was not surprised, because Tom is such a great representative of our university. He has had numerous accomplishments both athletically and academically, so I thought the nomination was well deserved.”
Jessie Koster was nominated for SCAC Woman of the Year Award as well, having graduated last year. When asked what it was like playing and competing on the UD volleyball team, she said, “I have played volleyball competitively my entire life, so playing for the University of Dallas allowed me to continue my passion and love for the sport. It was a great sense of family more than the success that I loved about the University of Dallas.”
Appearing in a combined 346 games during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years on the UD volleyball team, Koster led the country in digs in her final season..
When she was asked what it was like to find out she was nominated for the SCAC Woman of the Year Award, Koster said, “I was both honored and excited to be nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year Award and SCAC Woman of the Year Award, because I felt that I gave everything I had in my last season at the University of Dallas.”
Koster explained that the support of her coach translated to success on the court. “My coach was amazing. She was extremely intelligent about the sport and very passionate,” she said. “I learned a lot from her.”
The UD students who play as Crusaders are taught to excel not just athletically, but academically as well. You can find them all around you: in the buildings, at events, out on the mall, and at practice for their chosen sport each and every day. They are your fellow athletes, classmates and even friends. For those who choose to pursue the student-athlete path like Kaiser and Koster, practice on.