You can take a Philadelphian out of Philly, but you can't take Philly out of a Philadelphian.
Penn men's basketball alumnus Michael Jordan is no exception. He has always wanted to return home to Philadelphia at some point in his career.
Jordan returns to Philadelphia as an assistant coach at Drexel after a 20-year absence from the city. After playing an integral role in the Quakers' dominance in Ivy League basketball in the late 90's, Jordan unsuccessfully tried out with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics before signing a contract to play overseas in Spain. Jordan spent 12 years playing overseas in countries like Spain, Latvia, and France.
In 2012, Jordan retired from basketball and moved back to the United States. He was surprised when his former Penn teammate and current Colgate men's basketball coach Matt Langel offered him a position on his coaching staff.
"When I was playing overseas, one of my teammates had a brother who was about to leave his coaching position at Colgate," Jordan said. "I wanted to get back into coaching at the time, too. I had been friends with Matt [Langel] for a long time, and it seemed like a great fit for both of us. So we were fortunate that worked out so well."
After joining the Raiders, Jordan played an integral part in rebuilding Colgate's men's basketball program. The Raiders have won more than 20 games in each of the last two seasons — the first 20-win seasons in school history. Last season, Colgate set a program record for wins (25) and Patriot League wins (14). They also won their first Patriot League title outright for the first time in school history in 2019. Colgate has finished first or second in the Patriot League standings in four of the last six years, including back-to-back first place finishes in 2018-19 and 2019-20. The Raiders had a combined record of 68-34 over the last three years, the best stretch in Colgate basketball history.
"Hamilton [N.Y.] has been a great place to live over the past few years, and I'm thankful to Matt [Langel] for giving me the opportunity to serve on his coaching staff," Jordan said. "Philadelphia is my hometown, though. When I was overseas, I always thought about coming back here one day. It's really fortunate that I was able to get an opportunity to come back and work with a great coach in Zach Spiker."
Jordan joins a Drexel team that has seen its fair share of struggles under Spiker, who succeeded longtime coach James "Bruiser" Flint in 2016. Spiker is just 49-81 in five seasons with the team, including just 22-50 in conference play. Nonetheless, Jordan is optimistic; he thinks Colgate's winning is contagious.
"Working with [Langel] taught me a lot of things about coaching that I don't think I really internalized while I was a player," Jordan said. "I'm confident I can bring some of the insight I've gained over the years."
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