February 2020 ROAR

jeanniegregory

Coverage of Rockford athletics at all levels.

The Rams freshman basketball team. ~ Contributed Photo

He also gives a nod to his eighth-grade coach Greg Crowe.

“Although it was junior high, I can’t leave him out (as an

influence). He was instrumental to my development as a basketball

player and was who brought out the ‘toughness’ in me

as an athlete.”

After high school, Jeff earned his bachelor’s and master’s

degrees in social work at Grand Valley State University. He

married his wife, Erin, and they still reside in Rockford with

their three children (Alex, 13, Avery, 10, and Harper, 3).

He’s sure his hometown will have the same positive influence

on his children.

“This community has provided me with a great environment

to grow up in. I’ve been blessed to have made lifelong

friendships, received a great education, and of course the opportunities

that I’ve had in athletics. I now get to raise my family

here and witness all the wonderful transitions this community

has gone through.”

In February of 2017 he launched his business, JC’s Mobile

Detailing, LLC.

“In the three years open for business I’ve been blessed to

watch my dream grow quite fast in a short time. It’s been quite

rewarding to connect with the community in many ways and

I take great pride in giving back to my community and supporters.”

Along the way he has continued to be a coach, primarily for

youth basketball, but he also spends time coaching his kids.

He’s competitive, there is no doubt, but there’s more about

coaching for him personally. He took over the reins of the

freshman team this year and has led them to a 9-1 season thus

far.

“From a basketball standpoint, I couldn’t be prouder of

what we’ve accomplished. Expectations are high, make no

mistake about it, but measuring success far exceeds what our

record indicates. I find so much value in conversations with

school staff sharing news of how ‘Johnny’ helped out a new

student with navigating their schedule, or, how ‘Billy’ comes

The Jeff and Erin Cole family. ~ Contributed Photo

to the office every day to help a student with special needs.

Principal Tom Hosford tells me how the guys have expressed

how much fun they’re having this season. To me, these are the

things that fill my heart and not putting too much emphasis

on how many points ‘Joey’ scored the other night, although

that has its place as well. Measuring success goes far beyond

stat books and team records.”

He seems to be enjoying the season as much as his team is,

as he brings his own special brand of coaching to Rockford

athletes.

“I find it fascinating to step back as the teacher and become

the student. Watching these young men problem solve, to balance

the high demands of their school work and the multiple

roles they’re involved in. I believe as adults we often overcomplicate

things and it’s refreshing to observe these young minds

handle all that they do and in the way they do it. You can learn

so much from them if you just simply step back and pay attention.

It’s very powerful.”

Jeff concludes, “I take a great deal of pride with all the opportunities

that come with coaching. Rockford is a special

place, and many would like to be in my shoes - as would many

other kids who would love to be a part of something like this.

I’m very blessed and thankful for this opportunity to be Rockford’s

freshman boys head basketball coach. Rockford has given

me so much and I hope now as a coach I can give back the

many valuable lessons and expertise that our program, players

and community deserve.”

By the looks of things, he’s already off to a great start.

FEBRUARY, 2020 ROCKFORDROAR.COM 31

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