NORWALK, Conn. – Charwin Agard’s role with the Norwalk Youth Basketball Association program is similar to that of a point guard. As director of community relations, he is trying to bring everybody onto the same page to create a cohesive, well-structured program.
“The term community relations is so broad,’’ Agard said. “Primarily, it’s about engaging with our community to help the children of Norwalk. We have some families that are perfectly fine, they have the right leadership. Some do not. At the end of the day, the biggest thing is we have to make them terrific young men that will help the community at large.”
Agard’s basketball experience is valuable in the job. He played at Stony Brook University on Long Island from 1987 to 1991, and his name still pops up on those records. He led the team in field goal percentage as a senior and helped the Seawolves win 27 games and reach the NCAA Division III tournament as a junior and senior.
He has applied his knowledge as a coach, too. His fifth grade team is 15-5 overall and 9-1 in the Fairfield County Basketball League this winter.
“They like to ask me about that,’’ Agard said. “That gives me a connection that they want to listen to me. I talk to them about things outside of basketball, too. They’ve been listening to mom and dad, but they hear that voice all the time. They tend to want to listen to a different voice. For some reason, sports or celebrity help do that.”
His role is difficult in Norwalk because of the community's diversity. Agard’s background in basketball and business – he has been in the banking industry for more than 20 years – allows him to move easily among players and families with different backgrounds.
“I come from a big family with five brothers and two sisters,’’ he said. “They always interacted with me. I was always the uncle that would do everything with the kids. I love speaking to young men, and I get so passionate and emotionally into it. It’s not so much what I have to say about basketball, it’s about all the other things. I tell the kids it’s really not about basketball. I try to connect with them in that way.”
One of Agard’s other roles is to raise funds for the program. He works with members of the local business community to help support the league.
Agard realizes his role is a big responsibility. “I have people calling me, asking me to help make decisions about their sons,’’ he said. He has embraced the role and found a passion for coaching.
“I really enjoy it,’’ he said. “I’ve been a banker for 20 years, but it’s not fulfilling in a way that I want to be fulfilled. This is fulfilling for me. It’s the beginning of me trying to do something that gives some more meaning to my life, other than just making deals all the time.”