Leadership through basketball

Chris Jack didn’t travel the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean from Luxembourg to sit in his room at Gettysburg College. Jack isn’t even halfway through his tenure at Gettysburg, and he’s already realized the impact his education and the experiences he’s had can make on the world.

Nestled in the heart of central Europe between Belgium, France, and Germany, Luxembourg is a small country of only 600,000 people. Like many of his fellow citizens, Jack speaks four languages (Luxembourgish, German, French, English) and grew up with a well-rounded education, thanks in part to both of his parents being teachers in Luxembourg.

After finishing high school in his home country, Jack came stateside to attend The Hun School of Princeton in New Jersey with the ultimate objective of pursuing college basketball.

“I knew I wanted to play college basketball when I was 12 and saw it on TV for the first time,” said Jack, who hails from Reckange-sur-Mess, a small town in southwestern Luxembourg. “When I visited Gettysburg I felt a very welcoming vibe toward international students and I loved the college atmosphere.”

Chris Jack wearing Gettysburg College's basetball uniform holding a basketballJumping into the college experience after spending just one year in the United States could have seemed like a daunting task, but not for Jack. He quickly found a home at Gettysburg and pursued a range of interests across the campus.

“Almost immediately I felt integrated into the atmosphere at Gettysburg College and fell in love with many different aspects of both athletics and academics,” noted the sophomore. “The thing that stood out to me the most about Gettysburg was that people truly care about your experience here and want to help you on your own path as much as they can.”

Jack’s first path led him inside Bream Gym to play for the Bullets basketball team. The 6-6 swingman has appeared in 44 games through his first two campaigns, totaling 128 points and 96 rebounds. He saw his minutes increase in his second year under first-year coach B.J. Dunne, who knew he could rely on Jack on and off the court.

Chris Jack playing basketball

“Chris is the quintessential teammate,” said Dunne. “If someone were to ask me what makes the ideal Gettysburg basketball player, I would say Chris Jack. He is the first to arrive, last to leave and is incredibly positive and supportive of his teammates. He is someone who represents our program in a manner in which we can all be proud of and I could not be more excited to continue to coach him and have him make a major impact in our program.”

Athletics is just a fraction of the experiences in which Jack has engaged since coming to Gettysburg. He also works for Residence Life as a community advisor for college housing and is a fitness attendant in the Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness. Throughout the year, you can catch him handing out equipment and gear to fellow student-athletes in the equipment room. He’s also the vice president for the Austrian economics association, and he’s dabbled in providing commentary for women’s basketball video streams.

“The reason I feel the need to get involved is because this community has helped me grow so much that I want to give back as much as possible too,” said Jack. “Being at a small liberal arts college, I have been presented with a multitude of different opportunities in a variety of fields. I just want to take full advantage of it on a day-to-day basis.”

Last summer, Jack took part in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) U-20 European Championship Division B in Bulgaria for Luxembourg.

“The most important part for us on that journey was gaining the respect from other nations and to change their perceptions of Luxembourgish basketball,” Jack stated. “It was not just about winning or losing; it was about representing our country.”

Chris Jack and Luxembourgish basketball team

Playing collegiately at Gettysburg helped condition Jack for the grind of the European Championship, but the sophomore was quick to cite work off the court for helping him assume a leading role while representing his country.

“Having done the Gettysburg College Leadership Certificate program through the Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC) this past year at Gettysburg, I felt more prepared to be a leader on the team,” he said. “The ways in which I could communicate with my teammates expanded throughout my year working with the GLC and helped me push my teammates during tough situations.”

Jack is in the midst of wrapping up his second year at Gettysburg and he has no intention of slowing down in the back half of his college career. In addition to majoring in mathematical economics the sophomore has designed an independent major called “business and data analytics.”

This summer, he’s headed back to Luxembourg as a project and product management intern with Amazon. Jack aspires to work for a big tech company like Amazon or Google or with a business consulting firm once he graduates in 2021, but there are a few more things he’d like to check off the list at Gettysburg before embarking on his post-grad career.

“I want to leave a lasting impact on Gettysburg College,” said Jack. “I want to win a Centennial Conference championship with the basketball team and contend for a national championship. I want to continue developing the culture we are trying to build and make sure that it is continued when I leave. In addition, I want to absorb as much knowledge and life advice as I can whilst I am still here.”

Read more about leadership and service at Gettysburg College

By Corey Jewart
Posted: 04/14/19