Glad to be a Penguin
YOUNGSTOWN — Jason Pacanowski stepped onto the Youngstown State University campus more than a decade ago. His passion for being a Penguin never left him, despite leaving the physical buildings.
He was the YSU men’s basketball director of basketball operations from 2008-13 for former coach Jerry Slocum.
Pacanowski had young children in 2013. He left the Penguins to spend more time with them, taking the boys basketball head coaching job at Beaver Local. He also taught algebra and calculus classes, utilizing his second master’s degree — in integrated mathematics — earned at YSU.
His passion for the Penguins and wearing the Y never left.
YSU women’s coach John Barnes had an opening for the team’s director of player personnel. Pacanowski knew it was his opportunity.
“Coaching is coaching,” he said. “I love coaching there (Beaver Local) and everything, but ultimately part of me was still here. I had the itch. I wanted to be a part of a college program.
“I knew I was out for six years and those opportunities don’t come along. This kind of came about. This was the right opportunity at the right time to get back.”
Pacanowski was working on the team’s golf outing as we spoke, getting in touch with local sponsors and lining up other things for the fundraiser. He has plenty of local connections.
“He knows YSU inside and out,” Barnes said. “He hit the ground running. He’s got unlimited energy. He’s eager to do whatever tasks that need to be done to help the program run smoothly.”
Pacanowski coordinates travel and meals, oversees community service activities and programming. He is in charge of video exchange with other teams, running the youth summer camp and overseeing the game-day ballgirl program.
It’s been a great fit for the YSU women’s program.
“He’s a Penguin through and through and was dying to get back into the university,” Barnes said. “If it could be in the basketball area, even better. He was thrilled for the opportunity. We were the same, thrilled to have him back.”