HoC: Jeff Klein
Humans of Chaffey
It was my privilege to sit down with Jeff Klein, former Athletic Director of Chaffey College, and current head men's basketball coach. Jeff Klein found his passion for basketball when he was around six to seven-years-old.
“My father said, ‘hey, this kid doesn’t stop dribbling or shooting,” said Klein.
His father built Jeff a basketball court made up of a pole with a basket and cement in the backyard for Jeff to play more often. Klein enjoys sports, but basketball is his true passion. Basketball is Klein's passion because of the great coaching he received.
Klein wanted to be a teacher and was conflicted about coaching either basketball or football. He had better coaching in basketball, which led him to continue the passion with coaching. He realized that he wanted to be a coach around his third year of college.
“I went to States University of New York College at Cortland. It is really renowned for teacher education and physical education,” said Klein. "The college taught me so much on being an effective coach on and off the court."
“People in my life, other than my father, were my coaches. I just had great coaches growing up. They taught me how to motivate.”
Some of his toughest coaches taught him the best lessons. Klein uses techniques on his players that coaches used when he was an athlete. The impact he tries to have on his players is putting in his 150%. He tries to motivate each individual player.
“Water is money is in our practice.” stated Klein.
Each player values the time given for a water break because of their hard w
Klein stated that his parents never went to college, and he was raised to go to college. He saw his mentors as high school teachers and coaches. Klein worked hard to start off with that.
“For sixteen years I was a high school teacher and coach at Pasadena” said Klein.
While Klein was a high school coach it had occurred to him when he saw the job opening at Chaffey, he could become a college coach. Klein has been at Chaffey College for nineteen years. He had thought about striving for a division one coaching position.
Chaffey has given him more of an appreciation for the underdog. Being a coach at a community college gives all of his athletes a second chance to achieve their goals. Each community college athlete has a different story. When Klein sees an athlete go professional or on to the next level he feels joy because to him he likes to think he was able to be apart of that change in that athletes life. Klein feels that he can relate with many of his athletes because he was in similar situations when he was an athlete. Many of the athletes do not have a family structure. Klein does his best to be that father figure or family member for them by trying to instill confidence in his players.
Klein shows that he has genuine compassion for his athletes. He is a coach that truly cares. Klein has held the position of Athletic Director at Chaffey College where he was paid more, but what was most important to him was the passion he had for coaching and being part of something bigger. Klein took a leap of faith to move to California from New York and doesn’t regret the decision.
“By coaching I feel like I'm in the helping field so at the end of the year, at the end of the day I am doing what I really like to do,” said Klein.