Where Are They Now Series Launched
LA GRANDE, Ore. - Student-athletes in the Cascade Collegiate Conference have long been recognized for their talents on and off the playing courts and fields, as well as their academic achievements. In a new series titled "Where are they Now" the CCC provides updates on former student athletes from around the league who are making significant impacts in their professional careers and personal lives.
The Cascade Conference caught up with former Warner Pacific College men's basketball player Jared Mace. Mace graduated from WPC in 2010 with a degree in Business Administration and earned his Master's degree in Business Management in 2012. A native of Boise, Idaho, Mace currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Mace began his career at Treasure Valley Community College and then played his junior year at Cascade College (a former member of the CCC). Cascade College was forced to close its doors and Mace finished his academic and athletic career at Warner Pacific.
Cascade Conference (CC) - After Cascade College closed how did you decide on WPC to continue your academic and athletic career?
Jared Mace(JM)- I chose Warner Pacific because it has a great basketball program, the coaches were a good fit for me, and the academics, specifically the Business Department, is well respected. I love the fact that it is in Portland. I had always wanted to experience the "big city life" before I went there.
CC- What have you been doing since graduation?
JM- Shortly after I graduated in 2010, I started Hope 4 Hooper's with some of my teammates which would later become Playing for Kickz. Playing for Kickz is a non-profit organization that collects athletic shoes for young athletes in need so they can participate in sports and pursue their dreams to play professionally.
We started by putting on monthly basketball camps for local middle school and high school students, and the cost was only a pair of shoes. It was a way for kids to get to know the college players they looked up to and watched on weekends, work on their skills, and get some leadership and life lessons while subtly teaching them the importance of giving to others.
Outside of the nonprofit organization which we did in our spare time, I was working as an assistant to a CEO of a real estate company. It wasn't long after that I decided I wanted to go back to school and get my masters. So in November of 2010, I started taking night classes on Mondays to get my Masters in Business Management.
I continued working for the real estate company and on Playing for Kickz while I was in school. We partnered with the CCC and started having shoe collection events at each school in 2011.
At the end of 2011, I started working for Health Services selling medical equipment. In March of 2012, I went to the Philippines for the first time to put on a basketball camp and donate a few hundred shoes. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. We then started collecting shoes at the University of Oregon, the Olympic trials in Eugene, the NBA Summer League in Vegas, and other schools scattered mainly throughout the Northwest.
I graduated with my Masters on August 18th, 2012, which also happened to be my 25th birthday so it was a special birthday that I'll never forget. I am still working with Health Services.
We are going back to the Philippines in March but with a lot more shoes. We are putting on 5 different camps in 5 different cities. We have collected around 5,000 pairs of shoes so far and we hope to collect a lot more. I hope to soon have enough supporters to be able to give new shoes to all those athletes here in America who can't afford a pair of new athletic shoes as well as overseas.
CC- What were some of your best memories of Warner Pacific College, both academically and athletically?
JM- Athletically, one of my favorite moments was when we went to the national tournament in Branson, Missouri. One night, we went to this steak and potatoes kind of restaurant that is famous for throwing rolls at you whenever you lift your hand. It's called Lambert's. The portions of food are ginormous! They are so big that if you finish your meal, they will give you another plate of whatever you had for free.
My teammate and roommate Webster Moreland got the rack of ribs...the entire rack of ribs. It was a lot of food! He ate the whole thing which was impressive in itself. We all talked him into the second plate and after a few pieces he said he was done but we weren't going to let him quit there. With persistence and a lot of rooting/nagging from his teammates, he finished the second plate. He wasn't happy he did it either. The look on his face was priceless! We went to this little ice cream parlor after dinner as everyone had room for dessert, Webster didn't. He decided to stay in the van. When we came back, he was asleep in the van. He ate himself into a coma.
Academically, one of my favorite memories was when we went to Regionals for SIFE in San Francisco. SIFE (now called ENACTUS) is a student run organization that creates projects in the community that help the community become more sustainable either environmentally or economically.
At the end of the year, we had to present the projects we created to a panel of fortune 500 executives and they graded us against other schools on how much impact we had compared to how many resources we had. It was the first year Warner had a SIFE team so being one of the founding members watching this idea come alive and seeing the end product was awesome.
Right before we presented, nerves were at an all-time high. People were sweating, pacing back and forth, and our advisor was just hanging out in the corner smiling, quietly chuckling at how intense everyone was.
As we got on stage, there was this silent moment when the judges just stared at us while our tech guy was getting the PowerPoint video ready and I was running through my part of the speech one last time. I distinctively remember a voice in my head saying "who cares, whatever happens, happens" so I took a deep breath and just enjoyed the moment. We rocked the speech and got Rookie of the Year and Runner-Up at Regionals. For a team with less than $1,000 in their budget to beat Universities with over $100,000, it was quite an accomplishment. It was really a fun group of people and our advisor was awesome. We got to site see and enjoy taking home two trophies-one of the better memories for sure!
CC- Who were some influential people in your life from Warner Pacific?
JM- My basketball coaches were a huge influence on my life. We spent a lot of time with them so they knew us pretty well and early in your twenties, sometimes fun takes precedence over other responsibilities. They were always patient with us, willing to listen, and give advice, whether for family issues, school, or anything else on our mind. They definitely helped mold me into the person I am today. My advisor and professor, Roger Martin also was a big influence. He taught many of my business classes, came to my games, and was our advisor for SIFE. We spent a lot of time together talking about life and personal things. They were all great role models for me. Last but not least, my mother was and still is a huge influence on me. She has supported me, challenged me, and helped me grow into the man I am today.
CC- How did participating in college athletics shape who you are today?
JM- College athletics shaped who I am today for many reasons. Learning to work together with a team towards a common goal is necessary both at home and at work. In sports, if you want to be good and stay in the game, you need to be willing to work hard.
I never was the most talented athlete on the floor nor was I the most skilled but I was willing to do whatever it took to play. My competitive nature wouldn't allow me to just sit on the bench. I think that's why I played so many different positions in college. If the coach needed me to do something and it was the best opportunity for me to play, I would do it.
That hard work and competitive nature has stuck with me and helped shaped me into who I am today. I want to be the best no matter what I am doing. It takes hard work to succeed.
Another big thing I learned from sports is how to be persistent. Nothing is always going to go your way, in sports and in life. When an obstacle is in your way and you have to get to the other side, whether you go around it, under it, over it, or through it, you have to have the mentality that nothing is going to stand in your way. If you get knocked down once or a hundred times, you have to get up smarter and learn from your mistakes.
Having a good attitude is crucial. Some of the other important lessons I learned from playing college sports are goal settings, prioritizing, time management, and planning. I could go on for hours on this topic so I'll just leave it at this for now.
CC- What is on the horizon for your non-profit organization Playing for Kickz?
JM- We will be having our Playing for Kickz events at Northwest Christian and Eastern Oregon on February 8th and an event at Warner Pacific on February 15th and 16th. We are accepting all athletic shoes, all sizes, types, and conditions. The shoes that are too beat up to pass on get sent to Nike's grind factory where they will be recycled and turned into either basketball courts, tennis courts, or tracks. The shoes that are still wearable will be coming with us on our trip to the Philippines in March and will go to an athlete in need there. We are going to be putting on camps in different communities where we are going to pass out the shoes we collect and teach them how to be a better athlete and a better leader.
For more information on Playing for Kickz click here.