MANHATTAN, KS. (KSNT)- Jerome Tang is not your average college basketball coach.
Why? Well, for a number of reasons. The newest evidence: Coach read out his phone number at K-State’s new student convocation in Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday.
“if you are ever in a situation where you need help my cell number is…” he told students, before reciting the number twice and then accepting a Facetime call from the crowd.
‘Yes, it’s really me!’ he said with a smile as a student on the other end went speechless in shock.
On Monday, Tang spoke with reporters and explained why getting involved with the student body, even in unheard of ways, is important to him.
“I got two kids on campus. I hope that a professor, someone else on campus, will take an interest [and] see if they’re having a good or bad day,” Tang said. “Put their arms around them or just talk to them and understand that they’re people. They’re people away from home, probably for the first time. They just need to know that somebody there cares about them.”
He got the idea from Matt Driscoll, the head coach at North Florida. Some students have already taken him up on the offer to text for help.
“[One] young man yesterday needed some gas, so I met him at the gas station and put some gas in his car,” Tang said.
This is actually the second year in which Tang has given new students his number. Last year, he had parents reach out and ask him to check in on their son/ daughter on campus. Additionally, students have texted coach to let him know about events or gatherings they’re hosting in Manhattan.
“It’s been so helpful for me to get to know about the college life and what’s going on,” Tang said. “For me to stop in for five minutes and say ‘Hi’ it means the world to them and I learn so much. I’ve been as rewarded in this as anything else.”
Tang admits he thought Driscoll was crazy when he first heard the idea, but now he’s thankful for the suggestion.