My name is Jesse Smith. I came to Alaska in 1984 due to my dad being stationed at Eielson AFB (outside of Fairbanks ). I played sports (Volleyball, Football, and Basketball) for Eielson from 1985-1989. During that time our basketball team (complete with Mr. Frank Ostanik – current Monroe HS basketball coach) won the school’s first state championship beating out a very good ACS team. I was then provided a scholarship to play basketball at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. After only completing a year of ball…I returned to Alaska for a visit and never returned to NC. I decided instead to go to school here locally (UAA) but didn’t play sports. I worked at UAA and was able to take advantage of the employee benefit that allowed me to go to school free.
I then started working for the State of Alaska in 1996 as a Public Guardian (http://doa.alaska.gov/opa/) where I was directly responsible for over 80 mentally ill and incapacitated adults statewide. While working as a Public Guardian I also became a Master Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) where I represented children in court who were removed from their parents’ homes by OCS. It was my job to make sure the children’s needs were well represented and family reunification goals were met. Not that this wasn’t enough – I also started working with our State IT staff to maintain needed programs, databases, and network/computer equipment. That led me to my position as a Microcomputer Network Specialist for the Department of Administration where I maintained that position until I moved into the networking world of IT (back in 2018). Since then…I have gone from a Data Specialist I and then been promoted to a Data Specialist II. I currently maintain the role of a Data Processing Manager I which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of networks across the entire State of Alaska.
I have worked for the State of Alaska for about 31 years now. During that time I raised two children Skyler (boy) and Devonda (girl). Skyler is a commercial fisherman and recent father and spends his time in Kodiak, AK. My daughter is just finishing her first year of college in North Carolina (Brevard College). I haven’t had any empty nest issues because I surround myself with basketball regularly.
I started coaching youth basketball many years ago here in Anchorage. I started individually coaching teams such as the Anchorage Timberwolves and also under the Alaska Stars organization. During this time I have allowed many kids in and around Anchorage to experience many championships in the YES, YMCA, ACS, TruGame, Elevate, Wasilla/Valley, and the Boys & Girls Club leagues. It was during my time with the Alaska Stars organization that the desire developed to get Alaska talent showcased outside of the state. So we started putting together a team travel opportunity yearly that would showcase some of the best talents Alaska has to offer. Our program has been very successful in Seattle, Texas, Florida, Seattle, and most recently Las Vegas. In 2010 the previous director of the Alaska Stars relocated to Washington state. We reorganized under the Alaska Gold Basketball Program where we can continue to provide the opportunities that many before us have benefited from. Our program today boasts kids in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and High School divisions. Our teams have already experienced success at younger ages and this is simply a result of the time and effort we put forth in training them to be the best that we can be. We also encourage every child to not only be an athlete but also a student-athlete where they are expected to perform both on and off the court. For example…you have to maintain a 2.5 GPA just to be a part of the program and a 3.0 GPA just to travel.
In addition, I am listing some references that you can contact if you have further questions.
David Barney – Manager/Director
Mountain View Boys and Girls Club
Sean Conners – Director
Washington Youth Sports – Seattle , WA
Chad Dyson – Director
ACS Youth Leagues
Joquis Sconniers – Director