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From basketball coach to mentor: Garth Pleasant talks changes

By Isabela Placencia 

As a student at Rochester University, you are most likely familiar with the Garth Pleasant Arena, but did you know that the arena is named after a man who has been a part of the Rochester University family for more than 50 years?

Garth Pleasant is a retired basketball coach who now mentors coaches on producing good players and, most importantly, good people. Predictably, Pleasant has seen much change at RU, some of which he helped enact himself.

At first, Pleasant worked as a physical education instructor, later transitioning to the position of coach, where he coached baseball and basketball. Pleasant was dedicated to improving the student-athlete experience by negotiating $20,000 in funds for baseball field upgrades.

Even though Pleasant has never coached a game in Garth Pleasant Arena, he is still grateful for the significant upgrade for RU sports teams since men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams can have home games. Hosting games at RU was important to Garth Pleasant.

Pleasant said, “Change is good in other areas, even if it means passing the torch to

somebody else to avoid slowing your players down.”

Pleasant said it’s nice not to “have your tummy doing flips” when team performance is concerned, and he knows the new coach well. Dr. Klint Pleasant is Garth's son, and Garth said he thinks his son is a better coach than him despite there being many similarities. 

Other changes Garth Pleasant has embraced at the school involve RU’s culture as the university community has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive. Pleasant said the RU community used to consist mainly of people from the Churches of Christ but “now we have students from all over the world.” Pleasant mentors coaches on how to train students

with different backgrounds.

In the end, Pleasant’s title may have changed, but he emphasized that “the core is the same, which is the Lord.” He said both he and Klint prioritize the moral and educational development of their athletes. Pleasant truly values family as he trusted his son with his coaching legacy when he stepped away to spend more time with his family. Ultimately, Pleasant has always been a mentor due to his dedication to setting his players up for success after college.



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