NWAC champion Bryce Jacobson is returning to his basketball roots.
Those roots that grew deeply at Peninsula College, that is.
Jacobson, a member of the NWAC-champion 2011 Peninsula College team, was announced late last week as the new head men’s basketball coach at the school. He takes over from Donald Rollman, who left earlier this summer after five seasons to take an assistant coaching job at Seattle Pacific.
“I had a special experience both years at Peninsula College,” Jacobson said, “and I’ve maintained connections in the community. It’s a small-town community that fits me.”
Jacobson was a Palmer, Alaska, high school basketball star. He said as small as Port Angeles is, it’s still about four times bigger than Palmer.
One of the things he said he loves about Peninsula College is the amount of support the teams receive from the community.
“You will not get that at most junior colleges,” he said.
Peninsula will be his first head coaching position, but he has an extensive background as an assistant.
Jacobson was an assistant coach at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento. He coached alongside former Pirates head coach Lance Von Vogt for the past three seasons at William Jessup. Jacobson said that as an assistant there, he had more responsibility than most assistant coaches because Von Vogt’s duties were split between being both the head basketball coach and the athletic director.
Jacobson was also a student assistant at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and spent four years on the coaching staff at Palmer High School.
Jacobson said one of the things that attracted him to the job was the chance to work with Associate Dean for Athletics Rick Ross, who was at Peninsula during Jacobson’s playing days. He was also a teammate with assistant athletic director Jeremiah Johnson and knows women’s coach Alison Crumb, who recruits a lot in Jacobson’s old backyard of Alaska.
“I’m excited to get back together with the people at Peninsula,” he said.
“I’m extremely excited to be coming back to Port Angeles and Peninsula College,” Jacobson said. “This is a place that has held a special place in my heart these past 12 years since I graduated and moved away. The things that have stuck with me about PC are the wonderful people working throughout the college and the amazing community support for all four sports teams.
“Not many community college athletics programs have the support that Peninsula does, which speaks volumes about the love for athletics and the special culture of the Port Angeles community.”
Said Rick Ross, Peninsula College’s Associate Dean for Athletics, “It’s a great day for Pirate basketball with another former player coming ‘home’ to take the reins.”
Ross, Crumb, associate women’s coach Gabi Fenumiai and men’s soccer coach Jake Hughes were all students at Peninsula College.
“Bryce didn’t land the job because he was family, though,” Ross said. “He landed the job because he worked hard at Jessup to prepare for a career as a college head basketball coach and he killed the interview.
“We had a very strong pool of about 30 applicants from all over the country and Bryce earned this opportunity. He’s going to outwork people. He’s a high-character guy and our community is going to love him.”
History of success
At Jessup University, the Warriors put together a program-best 30 wins and a trip to the NAIA quarterfinal in 2021-22 and followed that up with another playoff run last year, the final year of Von Vogt’s term of coaching, as he stepped down to move into the role of vice president of athletics.
Jacobson will bring a history of success as a coach and a player to Peninsula College. He was recruited to Peninsula by head coach Peter Stewart, who left at the end of the 2009-10 season after a stellar coaching career.
Von Vogt inherited Jacobson, and a handful of returners, bringing in a talented cast of freshmen. That team went on to win the NWAC championship in 2010-11.
“Bryce was a big part of that championship team,” Ross said. “If you were on the other team, you wouldn’t want Bryce guarding you. He was relentless.”
Jacobson, a team captain along with Johnson, went down with an injury that season, but his sideline leadership in the finals helped that team jell and bring home the trophy, Ross said. The 2010-2011 Pirates team was inducted into the Pirate Athletics Hall of Fame just over a month ago.
Jacobson is very aware of the history of Pirate basketball and said he’s looking forward to being a part of that.
“My predecessors with Peninsula men’s basketball, including most recently Donald Rollman, have done such an amazing job and I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the program moving forward,” he said.