It began with nothing more than a simple email.
Ithaca College head basketball coach Jim Mullins saw a message come across his computer, one similar to hundreds he’d received from potential recruits over the years. But something about this one was different.
The message came from the head coach at Gulliver Prep in Miami, Florida, who had sent an email blast to somewhere between 50 and 100 schools to gauge interest in one of his players, Marc Chasin.
“I was sitting in my office, during the summer, when I got the thing on Marc and I said, ‘Ah, Miami kid, he’s not going to want to come up here.’ I watched the YouTube clips anyway and I’m going, ‘I really like this kid,’” Mullins said.
"Something about this one was different." -Jim Mullins
Mullins proceeded to call the Gulliver Prep coach and ask whether there was genuine interest from Chasin in coming to a school like Ithaca.
“We called him and he seemed like he was legitimately interested. We kept following up… My assistant coach at the time, Jon Tanous, went down and watched him. Marc came up and visited, liked the place and the rest is history.”
Chasin wasn’t always sure Ithaca was the place for him, but he said the visit to campus is what really sold it.
“On my way here from New York City, I would say that I’m kind of looking around, obviously I’m a Miami kid and I’m looking around at the forest and the mountains, ‘like damn, what am I getting myself into… And then as the bus rolled into Ithaca and I saw that it actually was more than just sticks. I don’t know, I thought the campus was beautiful.’”
Chasin, who had a chance to walk-on at a few division one schools, opted to take the division three route in favor of academics, and what he felt was a better fit.
“One of the things that Coach Tanous had told me in the recruiting visit was that it’s better to be the big fish in the small pond than the small fish in the ocean,” Chasin said.
Through his first full season on South Hill, Chasin was already the team’s second leading scorer, averaging just under 15 points per game. It became apparent that the Bombers could benefit from continuing to recruit in Miami.
Florida presented a unique opportunity for Ithaca College, a division three program, because the state doesn’t have a division three league. There was a clear talent pool there, and Chasin was just the beginning.
When Tanous, the man who recruited Chasin, left the basketball program to take a Head Coaching job at Penn State Abington, Mullins looked to one of the best players in program history to make a return to the bench.
Assistant Coach Sean Burton, playing at IC in the mid 2000's
Sean Burton, who was a two-time All-American from 2005-2009 at Ithaca College, accepted the job as assistant coach in September 2015, and in turn became the team’s most important recruiter.
While Burton didn’t recruit Chasin, the two quickly became close and were able to work together to find more talent in Dade County.
“Marc’s in my office all the time. We have a close bond and I kind of use him almost as a recruiting specialist for the area because he knows the ins and outs, he knows a lot of people, he has a lot of connections,” Burton said.
The chance to grab another talented Florida player presented itself to Burton in an annual recruiting report that he received in 2015.