Just a few short years ago, Pat Fitzgerald was given the chance to become an assistant coach at Northwestern. Things have worked out well for him. At Welsh-Ryan Arena, there’s another hard-working, passionate assistant coach who’s blazing his own trail, and you may not know much about him.
The casual Wildcat fan may not know much about Tavaras Hardy, the coach—Associate Head Coach to be official. Many remember Tavaras Hardy, the player.
A native of Joliet, Illinois, and standout at Providence Catholic, Hardy became a decorated player at the college level. He was a four-year letterman, a three-time team MVP, and two-time All-Big Ten selection during his playing days with the Wildcats.
After a three-year stint with the Illinois Defenders basketball program, Hardy returned to Northwestern to join Bill Carmody’s coaching staff. Once he returned to Evanston, Hardy got right down to business, and brought his tireless work ethic with. That has been a big factor in Northwestern’s turnaround.
“His work ethic and commitment have been vital in getting this program on the right track,” NU head coach Bill Carmody said in a statement. “Tavaras has a great passion for Northwestern Basketball and will be an outstanding head coach in the near future."
Many outside observers aren’t aware of the difference a Tavaras Hardy makes. Hardy’s free time is few and far between. He’s constantly working in his office, or is out on the road on a recruiting trip.
Hardy serves as Northwestern’s top recruiter. He has pulled in recruits such as John Shurna, Drew Crawford, Jershon Cobb, and most recently, David Sobolewski, Tre Demps, and Mike Turner.
As a recruiter and a person, Hardy brings something that not many are able to match. His people skills are what makes the difference. Hardy becomes your best friend. He builds a relationship, and cares how you’re doing. This isn’t just a recruiting ploy, it’s Tavaras Hardy.
During heavy recruiting periods, Hardy is constantly on the move—flying from one town to the other. He becomes a purple-bleeding ambassador for Northwestern.
“He’s a tireless worker and terrific representative of Northwestern University who has a palpable passion for his job,” said NU athletic director Jim Phillips in a statement.
While back in Evanston, Hardy is a mentor to the players who he works to bring in. He’s a coach on the bench and off the court. The players relate to Hardy’s experiences as a player, and look to him for advice.
“He has a tremendous ability to relate to young men through his own personal experiences as a student-athlete here at Northwestern,” said Bill Carmody in a statement.
Through his time at Northwestern, Hardy has worked long hours to help better the basketball program that has brought him in—twice. His success on the bench and ability to relate to others is what could have him taking a head coaching position down the road.
“His work ethic and commitment have been vital in getting this program on the right track,” said Carmody in a statement. “Tavaras has a great passion for Northwestern Basketball and will be an outstanding head coach in the near future.
Photo and quotes courtesy of Northwestern Athletic Communications