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James Preston

January 2024

300x300 James Preston


Introducing James Preston, one of SVSU's latest graduates! Back in the 1980s, James was an athlete at SVSU, shining on the basketball court as a key player of a championship team and even earning the title of GLIAC's MVP in 1985. Though circumstances led him to leave just a semester short of completing his degree, he finally achieved his goal and graduated in December 2023 with a degree in General Studies. James has coached basketball for over 30 years and spent most of his life working in education. James has said that he has had a great life, but one thing that he did not get to do was get his degree, and he wanted to finish that for his mom.

1st time at SVSU

Rewind to the '80s: James began his journey playing basketball at Delta College before transferring to Murray State University and then transferring to SVSU with Coach Dr. Robert Pratt's guidance. While playing at SVSU from 1984-1985, he became an integral part of a phenomenal season that ultimately led the team to be honored in the SVSU Hall of Fame. After leaving college in 1986 for personal reasons, James attempted to return and complete his education in the '90s, but life's challenges made it too difficult.

2nd time at SVSU

Fast forward to 2019: past SVSU Alumni Relations Director Jim Dwyer and Basketball Coach Randy Baruth reached out to James and reignited his interest in finishing what he started years ago. After discussing with his family, James decided it was time to fulfill the promise he had made to his mother by completing his degree. Working hand-in-hand with academic advisors at SVSU, they created a plan that allowed him to major in General Studies and minor in Athletic Coaching.

Returning to SVSU this time around, James revered the warmth on campus and admired its growth over the years — but most importantly, he cherished the lasting friendships formed during his initial stint. He has remained very close to his teammates from then, and they were all honored in the SVSU Sports Hall of Fame.

James graduated in December 2023 and still attends basketball games regularly, and he has all of the SVSU gear to prove it. James used to be a basketball alumnus, but he is proud to say he is now also an SVSU alumnus!

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