Jesse Balcer announced that he will be stepping down from his post as the Chestnut Hill College men’s basketball coach following the 2019-20 season to focus solely on his role as the school’s Director of Athletics and Recreation. Balcer has been the program’s only head coach in its 17-year history.
“When we hired Coach Balcer in 2003, he had the unenviable task of recruiting the first men’s basketball team in the history of Chestnut Hill College. It was his team, together, starting something new and exciting,” said Sister Carol Jean Vale, Ph.D., President of Chestnut Hill College. “His love of the game has been obvious over many years and the example he set for his players through his care, concern, enthusiasm, mentorship, integrity, and tough love is noteworthy. His successes speak for themselves.”
From Griffins Athletics’ start at the Division III level to its transition to becoming a Division II school, Balcer has played a role in everything from the development of the basketball program to the athletic department’s successes.
Balcer accrued 169 wins in his time at the helm. His teams landed in the postseason 10 times, with seven trips to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) tournament and three berths in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tournament. His team topped the NEAC regular season standings in 2005, reached the NEAC final in 2007, and earned an upset over Philadelphia University for a CACC playoff win in 2011.
“I always coached for the love of the game and for the love of all of my players,” Balcer said. “I love this school and what it stands for. So it’s always been an easy sell to get guys to come to a school where they’re going to be cared about, taught the right way, and developed into men.”
Seven Griffins earned 12 all-conference selections during Balcer’s tenure. Isaac Greer ’07, who was also a two-time NEAC Player of the Year, joined Shawn Bowling ’07 and David Goode ’09 as All-NEAC selections. Julian McFadden ’10, Dan Comas ’12, Taylor Trevisan ’14, and Mark DiRugeris Jr. ’13 who was a first team selection during his senior year, landed on the All-CACC team.
Nine players hit the 1,000-point milestone in their careers under Balcer — Greer (2,065 career points), DiRugeris Jr. (1,629), Comas (1,311), Bolling (1,309), Demetrius Isaac ’18 (1,230), Brandon Williams ’12 (1,179), McFadden (1,117), Luke Dickson ’16 (1,029), and Ed McWade ’19 (1001). Five of Balcer’s players earned the Athletic Director’s Award — Mike Devine ’07 (2006-2007), McFadden (2008-2009), Williams (2011-2012), Noel Hightower ’16 (2015-2016), and Isaac (2017-2018).
Balcer began his college coaching career as an assistant under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Herb Magee at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson). He spent three seasons coaching at his alma mater, where he was the first walk-on to become team captain when the school was known as Philadelphia Textile.
He took on the responsibility of interim athletic director in the summer of 2018 before assuming the position full-time in October of that year. The appointment came following his 10 years working in the administration, serving as assistant director of athletics from 2008 to 2012 and associate director of athletics from 2012 through 2018.
His accomplishments include securing two revenue drivers to Chestnut Hill College Athletics: negotiating its contract as a Nike officially-sponsored school and landing Brittingham’s Pub as the official restaurant of Griffin Nation. He also served on several NCAA advisory committees, including his current role as chair of the National Women’s Lacrosse Committee.