Some athletes get to live out their dreams by continuing to play their sport in college, and even fewer get to say they continued further than that. However, some athletes at USD found luck and earned jobs with their alma mater.
Swimming graduate assistant Jake Knowles and track graduate assistant Teivaskie Lewin were both student-athletes at USD in recent years, and have become graduate assistants in their respective sports.
Head strength and conditioning coach Jevon Bowman was also a former USD student-athlete.
All three former student-athletes have found ways to continue contributing to their sport.
Teivaskie Lewin was a hurdler for the USD track & field team from 2013 to 2016.
Lewin became a graduate assistant in the fall of 2016 and now works with the sprinters and hurdlers.
Lewin said he never knew the workload of a coach until he became one.
“From a coach’s perspective, it’s much different,” he said. “I never realized that there was so much work behind everything. There are a lot of things you take for granted as an athlete.”
Lewin said he loves being able to coach.
“Coaching is terrific,” he said. “You get to be with the kids each day and you’re just basically living your dream through them and trying to get them better each and every day they’re out here.”
Lewin said the best thing for him as a coach is when a player appreciates his help.
“The greatest thing I feel as a coach is when a kid can come up to you and say, ‘You know what, thank you.’ Even if it’s just one kid out of the year that comes up to you and says ‘thank you,’ you feel so much appreciated and just motivated to do your job,” he said. “It’s not even about them performing, but it’s just them appreciating what you’re doing for them.”
Jake Knowles was a swimmer at USD from 2013 to 2017. This is his first year as a graduate assistant.
Knowles said there’s a different of a mindset that comes with being a coach.
“I would say there is a different mindset in the way the coach has to approach practices and meets and stuff like that,” he said. “Before it was just asking yourself, ‘How do I better myself by bettering the team?’ and now it’s, ‘How do I better the team through how I interact and coach and prepare myself to help them through a practice or a meet?’”
Knowles said one of the best parts about coaching is being able to help the team that helped him.
“Just being able to stick around and help a program that helped me through four years of college, and just being able to affect the team from the other side now is definitely something that I find that I really like about being a coach,” he said.
Jevon Bowman was a football player at USD from 2004 to 2007. After graduating in 2007, Bowman spent two years as a graduate assistant, and was offered the head strength & conditioning coach position in 2010.
Bowman has been with the strength & conditioning program for about 10 years, and said it’s been a “humbling experience.”
“Most coaches want to go back to their alma mater at some point, and I had the opportunity to do it early in my career,” he said. “It’s been a humbling experience to go from having the same weight room that I trained in to coaching in it and then being able to build at one point a whatever million dollar facility.”
Bowman said he’s felt like a big part of the university for as long as he’s been involved in it.
“What is really cool is nothing really has changed as far as feeling a part of something special here,” he said. “I think a lot of that has to do with President Abbott and the athletic directors previous to David Herbster, as well as David Herbster.”
Bowman said being able to work his dream job at the place he competed is special, but also
“The sense of what it means to be here is kind of hard to say,” he said. “It’s kind like why do you ask someone to marry you? It’s hard to explain why. This place is pretty special.”