For years, the NCAA has boasted in its commercials that most collegiate athletes become professional players outside of sports. But for former Seawolves point guards Ben Resner and Brian Dougher, the game they love has become a profession.
Although their playing days have ended, Resner and Dougher have both found coaching jobs that they are starting this season.
Resner graduated last spring after serving as the Seawolves’ captain. While he played only sparingly during his time at Stony Brook, Resner always felt that his leadership skills made him coaching material.
“My role [on Stony Brook] was to be a leader and to teach the younger guys how to act since I had been around the program for a few years,” Resner said. “Once I realized I couldn’t play in the NBA, the next best thing was to coach there.”
Finding a professional coaching job right out of college is obviously no easy task. In today’s economy, finding job openings is difficult enough. However, an advertisement on Twitter for an NBA pro scouting event in Las Vegas was about to change Resner’s career path and bring him closer to his dream.
“I saw a video on about [the scouting event] on Twitter,” Resner said. “I knew if I wanted to get into the world of the NBA, these were the people I needed to be around. So I just packed my bags and left for Vegas.”
At the Vegas event, Resner would cross paths with the likes of Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. While he was unable to find work in the NBA this season, Resner eventually found an opening with the Canton Charge, the Developmental League (D-League) affiliate of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I reached out to every NBA team, every D-League team, trying to just get my foot in the door. I had a couple opportunities and the Charge was one of them after I couldn’t get into the NBA,” Resner said. “I was very lucky that they thought I was qualified enough to coach, and I can’t wait to get started.”
As Resner is moving into professional coaching this year, Bryan Dougher is doing the same in the collegiate ranks. Dougher was recently hired to be Stony Brook’s coordinator of basketball operations.
This marks a homecoming of sorts for Dougher, as he was a four-year starter at point guard with the Seawolves from 2008-2012. During this time, he became the program’s all-time leading scorer and three-point shooter.
“I’m definitely looking to get into coaching and this job is a great way to get my foot in the door,” Dougher said.
So far, Dougher says he is enjoying the new job. He credits his on-court experience as a player in coach Steve Pikiell’s system for a smooth transition from the court to the sidelines.
“It definitely helps that I played at a high level and that I played at Stony Brook so it’s been an easier transition,” Dougher said. “When you’re playing for four years, you spend so much time with the coaches that they begin to rub off on you.”
As both Resner and Dougher begin a new phase in their basketball careers, the former teammates remain friends. Dougher says that the two players-turned-coaches still talk on a daily basis and aid each other in reaching their goals.
“I liked being in college a little more than the pros, so we have different goals but we’re doing the same type of things so it’s great bouncing ideas off of each other,” Dougher said.
The two Stony Brook alumni will start their seasons in November, just a day apart from each other. The Seawolves will begin their season at home against Columbia on Nov. 14. One day later, the Canton Charge will tip off against the Delaware 87ers.