Last year, the College’s men’s basketball team rallied up a lot of excitement around campus as they made their way to the 2021-22 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DIII Men's Basketball Championship. In the middle of it all stood Ryan Holmes, guard for the Community College of Philadelphia Lions, who was named Player of the Year for the region. Ryan is now getting ready to graduate! We caught up with the soon-to-be-grad as he prepares for the next quarter of his story.
Ryan started at the College in spring 2021 during a time when all of CCP’s courses were online due to COVID-19. He was previously enrolled at Holy Family University on a scholarship but transferred to CCP. He says his first few months weren’t easy.
“I struggled at first, because I didn’t understand what was needed of me but ended up liking online classes [at CCP] because it gave me freedom to work to help pay my tuition,” he notes.
After enrolling, Coach Rome invited him to play on the men’s basketball team. From there, his relationships with teammates grew during a time when human interactions were few and far between. He’s now ending his academic career at CCP having completed all of his coursework online.
“Taking courses online didn’t really affect my relationship [with teammates] because we were always together for practices, games and traveling,” Ryan stated. “We would always talk through group chats and social media. I was grateful because even though I was taking my classes online […] I was still able to interact through basketball.”
Ryan says he appreciated the coaching staff understanding the players had other things going on in their lives in addition to basketball, adding they preached what was and wasn’t important on and off the court and in the classroom.
Ryan says his positive relationships with Coach Rome and Daniels, in particular, helped him push forward in his studies.
“Coach Rome checked everyone’s grades. If you weren’t eligible or not doing good in your classes, he showed us what to do, who to reach out to and how to get the classes we needed. Academics were a big part of his plan for us, and he always said it’s more about the academics than basketball,” he adds.
Ryan credits Coach Daniels with helping him to stay on track academically after initially struggling at CCP. “He kept me on point,” he says. “He encouraged me to make sure to get something done every day, even if it’s just opening my computer and reviewing classwork for the day.”
Ryan contends his education at CCP came at a time where he felt like he needed a win.
“I talk to my parents about this often, about how grateful I am for CCP and the second chance that it gave me,” Ryan says. “I didn’t do well academically at first [at Holy Family University] and CCP gave me a chance to make up for it and it all just worked out. From having a successful [basketball] career, getting [named] Player of the Year, and playing for a team where I became very close to my teammates…it was nice to have that and to feel like something is going my way.”
Ryan will graduate in May 2023 with his A.A in Business – General. He is looking to complete his studies in management and marketing while continuing to play basketball at a four-year institution.