Felicia Crump had spent a long day in her office at Gampel Pavilion packing her stuff. But it took even longer; Niels Giffey and Enosch Wolf came in and started unpacking it.
But there was to be no reversing things. Crump, 32, the Huskies’ academic counselor for three-plus years, was moving on. She finished at UConn on Jan. 11, and will start a new job in New York City, home for her, in three weeks with Coach Across America, a non-profit organization that helps train and support coaches for youth programs in under-resourced communities.
“It was a hard decision to leave,” Crump said. “I cried a lot. … I never would have left if I didn’t feel things were going in the right direction, I’m too connected to them.”
Crump was a graduate assistant for three years under Ted Taigen, then began the men’s basketball team’s chief advisor in 2009, with the program in the midst of the academic troubles that led to its postseason ineligibility for this season. During her time, several Huskies players moved ahead of their classes in credits, taking summer and intercession courses. Grades went up, and the program’s APR rose 150 points to reach 978 for the 2010-11 academic year, the year of the national championship, and is expected to be about the same for 2011-12. All reports were good for this past fall semester, too. UConn will be eligible again next year, and is in solid position to remain so.
“It’s the biggest misconception people have, that the players don’t care about academics,” Crump says, “and the players feel that, too. They just have to figure out how to handle all of it. People don’t realize the demands that are on them, and once they figure out how to manage it, it really all falls into place.”
Crump, who traveled with the team and monitored study halls and school assignments the players took with them on trips, helped the players learn how to manage their time, and it was clear to those around the program that she had their attention and respect. Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie always spoke very highly of her.
“It was the most challenging job,” Crump says, “but also the most rewarding and fulfilling job. I loved it. I felt privileged and honored to be on this journey with the team, and to be able to help them become better version so of themselves.”
Before taking the job at UConn, Crump worked with Major League Baseball’s RBI (reviving baseball in the inner-city) program, so her new job fits in with her experience and passion.
At UConn, Ellen Tripp, interim director of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletics, will take over the academic counseling for the men’s basketball program for the rest of the spring semester. After that, the decision will be made on a permanent counselor.