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Boston Scholar Athletes program hires new athletic director

Posted by Justin Rice  May 8, 2012 10:36 AM

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<p class="byline">By Justin A. Rice, Globe Correspondent</p>Former NBA employee Christopher Rooks started his new job as the Boston Scholar Athletes program's athletic director last week. 

Rooks will manage all athletic programs run by the nonprofit organization designed
to support Boston Public School athletics. <br /></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/schools/extras/schools_blog/Chris%20Rooks%20BSA.jpg"><img alt="Chris Rooks BSA.jpg" src="http://www.boston.com/sports/schools/extras/schools_blog/assets_c/2012/05/Chris%20Rooks%20BSA-thumb-275x235-71428.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="float: left; margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt;" height="235" width="275" /></a></p><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 115%;"></span>

“What I’m really excited about is the opportunity to work with the kids, work with the constituents in Boston and grow a program that helps them use the foundation of athletics to improve themselves as individuals, academically as well as in life,” Rooks said during an interview on Tuesday morning.

Founded in 2009 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and chairman John Fish,&nbsp; the BSA provides support to all 19 Boston Public High Schools, 157 athletic teams, 3,900 players and 132 coaches.

The program, which </span>was started after the Globe ran a seven-part series on the sad state of the district's athletic program called <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/schools/specials/failing_our_athletes/index/">Failing our Athletes</a>, has also established learning centers for athletes at each of Boston’s public high schools known as the BSA Zones.

“I am excited to have Chris on the BSA team,” Fish said in a statement.&nbsp; “The
experience and relationships he gained working for the NBA, combined with his
passion for athletics and professional development, will elevate the BSA
athletic program to a whole new level as we work to help Boston’s
scholar-athletes play to achieve.”

Rooks spent more than 11 years working for the NBA. He was most recently a senior manager
for player development who was responsible for the creation and administration
of athlete life skills programs, transitional workshops, awareness and prevention seminars and professional development resources.

“I come from a background of business development and player development,” Rooks said. “For the last six years I worked in the player development department where our role was to work with teams, players and our partners to try to benefit the personal, professional and social development of our players."

Rooks said his background in the NBA will help him build rapport with the BPS student-athletes.

“One of the things we wanted to make sure that the [NBA] understood is that the fame and the popularity of both [the players] and their sport kind of obligates them to take a position in social responsibility because of so many people who are looking up to them,” Rooks said. “It’s one of
the things we really pushed hard was that guys do more in the community so they can
be seen because of the impact they have." 

At the BSA, Rooks will be responsible for building long-term local and national
relationships as well as providing leadership, strategic direction, management
and coordination for all aspects of the BSA’s athletic program. Rooks will
also be responsible for the development of relationships with the BSA’s current
and potential markets along with increasing the program’s athletic support for
players and coaches.

Rooks received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio State in 1994 and he earned his master’s degree in sport administration in 2000 from OSU. Rooks replaces Evan Davis, who is currently the chief operating office at the <a href="http://www.sportslegacy.org/">Sports Legacy Institute</a>. 

“I’m really excited to be here working with the quality staff at BSA, the folks at BPS athletics and our athletic community here throughout all of Boston,” Rooks said.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at <a href="mailto:jrice.globe@gmail.com">jrice.globe@gmail.com</a>. Follow him on Twitter <a target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/GlobeJustinRice">@GlobeJustinRice</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/BPSspts">@BPSspts</a>.</em>

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.