Sean Chambers: Good enough, never is

THE GAME OF MY LIFEBill Velasco (The Philippine Star) – December 19, 2020 – 12:00am

“It gives me two separate lives.  I’m so grateful to God that I’m able to work in the academic field, empower students, work with teachers, work with staff. I became so much of an adult learner. But I still get to coach basketball, so I still get my basketball fix.”

This is how 1996 PBA Best Import and nine-time champion Sean Chambers describes his life now, as Dean of Students at Fern Bacon Middle School and girls basketball coach in his home of Sacramento. But it was all rooted in one of the lowest points he can remember.

“When I retired from the PBA, it was one of the most difficult times of my life, one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make,” Sean recalls. “To anybody coming to retirement in the PBA or the NBA, what will it look like when you’re 50? Have a plan. Whatever you studied at you university level, start looking at opportunities in those fields.”

A Social Sciences major specializing in behavioral sciences, his basketball path led him directly into education. Sean started as a volunteer coach at Fern Bacon, which was near him. Back then, the school of about 800 students was yet to begin its ascent to becoming one of the outstanding middle schools in the entire state of California. Chambers realized that all of us go to school, but nobody really knows how schools work. He saw the ins and outs, systems and traits that made schools succeed. The next step up for Sean as a head coach was a community liaison position, wherein he coordinated between the players, their families and the school. Essentially, he helped the girls graduate from high school, then prepare for university or a career. Working closely with the school’s administration team, he was soon asked to join them. A few years later, he moved up to his current position.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. To see students’ lives impacted in more than just sports, but in education, to grow out of the tough communities they’re in. We know that the foundation for that takes place in the middle school, early elementary school days.”

Along the way, he was also able to apply the integrity, discipline and professionalism ingrained in him in 13 years of returning to Alaska Milk in the PBA.

“My career as an educator has been nothing short of phenomenal. To run a successful school is very similar to running a basketball program,” Chambers explains. “You have to have structure; you have to have high expectations. You have to build your team, you have to have your team work for one another. There’s no “I” in team. We all have to contribute to make sure we have a successful school. In my school, we pride ourselves in doing things at a high level, very similar to Alaska. Our motto at Alaska was “Good enough, never is.” We live by that motto to this day at Fern Bacon Middle School. We want to be the best, the most efficient. We want to be the best teachers and administrators in our district, in order to empower our students to be successful in the classroom and outside the classroom.”

Dean Sean is generously paying it forward.

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