When Tom Jessee was promoted to head coach of the Augustana College men’s basketball team last month, a huge void was left in the program’s coaching ranks.
Jessee said he immediately had one guy in mind to fill his full-time assistant coaching position.
Not sure where those conversations would lead, it ended up being a solid gut instinct.
On Monday, former Viking player and 2009 Augustana graduate Jordan Delp was named to fill the No. 2 position on the Viking staff.
“When I was promoted, I reached out to him to see if he would have any interest, not knowing…” said Jessee. “He said, ‘wow, maybe.’ We talked a couple different times. From my perspective, it was an absolute no-brainer.
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“The more we talked, the more excited he got about it and we made it happen.”
And the 35-year-old Delp couldn't be happier to have his first coaching stint be at his alma mater.
"From the timing perspective and with what I was doing and how we were doing it on the training side, it just wasn't practical for me at that point," said Delp of looking at other coaching chances in the past. "This opportunity is much more unique; I don't have to move to make it happen. And I can continue to work with players outside of my responsibilities at Augustana."
Delp has stayed active around the game of basketball and making his Delp Pure Sweat Basketball training facilities a huge success in the Quad-Cities. Not only has he worked with youth players of all levels, he has also trained dozens of local professionals from the area including NBA journeyman Chasson Randle and now will "get a chance to blend both worlds" as he will keep his Pure Sweat facilities operating with a little more help from other instructors.
He has also worked with various Augustana basketball players over the years in an unofficial coaching capacity, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to get him on board.
In fact, it rounds out a staff of five with deep ties to the program. Jessee played at Augie before joining the coaching ranks. Delp played at Augie as did part-time assistants Alex Washington and Dylan Sortillo.
Dallas Duwa has been on staff for 12 years and his son, Carter, is one year into his Viking career.
"The opportunity to coach with Tom and help Tom — a guy I have known literally since I was 13 years old and have a long relationship that truly extends back to that point — is a humbling opportunity. It was not something I anticipated," said Delp. "You throw in the fact that I get to learn from a guy like Dallas Duwa who is an amazing teacher and I get to coach with Alex Washington, who I played with at Augustana and Dylan Sortillo, who I coached a bit while he was at Augustana. ... It's a unique opportunity to be with a staff that I think I can both add value to, but also learn from.
"You add to that it's a place I call home and I think I can relate and understand the culture and the values that Tom is going to want the program to be about. I am excited about the opportunity to pass on those things I learned from the guys who came before me and the guys who have been there since me."
Delp said he is looking forward to getting back into a competitive arena with this staff and continue to chase success, not only on the league level, but also on a national stage.
"That's something I have been missing out on in my current role as a skills coach," said Delp.
Jessee feels as if this addition only adds value to what he called a fabulous staff.
“I’m really excited to keep all three of those guys,” said Jessee of Duwa, Washington and Sortillo who are holdovers from past regimes. “Needless to say, the staff is tremendously connected to the college and the program.”
Jessee is excited with what Delp brings to the group.
“I know his character and his work ethic — both as a player and since he’s gone on and graduated and done tremendous things here in the community,” said Jessee.
But it is his work at Pure Sweat that has set him apart.
“He’s an unbelievable player-development guy,” said Jessee. “He’s gotten to be really, really good at what he does and from that perspective, I think he is a complete game-changer for us and our program at the Division III level.”
The thought of that was enough for Jessee to pick Delp over one other finalist for the position.
As has been the case with the staff, all coaches are active in the recruiting process and will continue to be, said Jessee. Just how all of the responsibilities pan out is yet to be determined as Delp melds into his first official coaching position.
Delp was a mainstay on Coach Grey Giovanine’s teams from 2004-09, helping Augustana go 103-34 with three CCIW championships and two conference tournament titles. He was a second team All-CCIW selection in 2006-07, when he led a 22-6 league-champion Viking outfit in scoring at 13.1 points per game and shot 44.9% from 3-point range. The two-time team captain was off to a great start in 2007-08, averaging 16.1 points through seven games before being sidelined with a torn Achilles tendon. He returned following year and led Augustana in 3-point field goals while averaging 8.2 points per contest.
Delp’s 116 career 3-pointers are tied for 11th-most in program history. He also ranks 19th in 3-point percentage (.391) and 25th in steals (94). He graduated in 2009 with a degree in business administration, focusing on finance and marketing.
After graduation, Delp went to work as an investment research assistant and investment analyst with QCR Holdings, while simultaneously founding and managing Cut Above Basketball, a skills training business. After five years, he left QCR to focus solely on player development with Cut Above and eventually opened his own Pure Sweat facility.