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Eric Amsler '99, far left, sits courtside at the NBA Scouting Combine with Pat Riley.
As the director of scouting and assistant director of player personnel for the Miami Heat, Eric Amsler has helped put together championship teams and worked alongside current and future Hall of Famers. It's the perfect job for this former Red Devils basketball player, who wanted to stay close to the court. Looking back, Amsler is confident his psychology major, coupled with a Dickinson liberal-arts education, was the ideal preparation for a front office NBA career.
What do you like best about your job?
The best part of the job is that I get to do what I've loved doing since as long as I can remember, and that is watching or being involved in basketball. The playing career ending a long time ago, and this job allows me to stay in touch with something that has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old. The competitive fire still burns, and this job allows me to be a part of a team where wins and losses determine a lot for us.
How did your Dickinson experience prepare you for your career?
I was a psychology major at Dickinson, and believe it or not, the major is well suited for what I do. Not only am I dealing with different personality types in the office—agents, coaches, etc.—but I have to learn the makeup of prospects who could be a piece of our team in the future. I spend a lot of time delving into players' backgrounds and their lives to see if they could fit with our team. That doesn't just include skills on the court; it also includes how their personality fits, how they grew up, the lifestyle they've had and the education they've had, among other things.
What do you think it is about Dickinson's liberal-arts education that prepares graduates for a wide range of careers?
Dickinson's liberal-arts education allows us to gain a well-rounded perspective in numerous subjects, not just a sole major. We had plenty of opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life at Dickinson, and that helped me for my future after graduating. Dickinson gave me—and surely many others—the courage to use my degree in a multitude of different jobs.
What moments from your career stand out as great memories?
I have been able to be a part of three championship teams, which gave me some of the greatest yearlong journeys of my life. From the time I started working with the NBA in 2001 to now with the Miami Heat for the past 14 years, I have had the opportunity to meet so many great former players, people and Heat players who have passed through these doors—current/future Hall of Fames. And to see how they work on and off the court, and how they interact with people, has always been interesting to me. I've learned so much from them, and hopefully it continues for a long time. I’m the person behind the curtain that you don't see. My job is to observe and gage for the future, and that has always been appealing to me, trying to see what is there now and how to make it better for the future.
What do you look back on most fondly about your Dickinson days?
I remember my Dickinson days like they were yesterday. I loved the small community we had at school. I always felt like I knew almost every face at Dickinson, and I very much keep in touch with my friends from school. Many of them are still my best friends today.
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Published April 18, 2018