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Breaking barriers through sports

He’s 6’9″ tall.

When Bobby Quayle (pronounced “Quail”) was in grade school in Mt. Pleasant, he was always the tallest kid in class. That’s one of the reasons he commands attention and respect. The other reason is people instantly like him. He has charisma.

Quayle: “Sports has the ability to break down all barriers.”

Quayle was a basketball star in Mt. Pleasant from 1990-’93, earning all-conference and all-state honors. Then it was off to Augustana, a Division II college, in Sioux Falls, SD, on a basketball scholarship. He played there two years and then transferred to Iowa State, a Division I school, to study Landscape Architecture. He decided to sit out the first year, play intramural ball and concentrate on studies.

During his second year, Quayle participated in walk-on tryouts for Iowa State’s basketball team. Tim Floyd was the coach and Iowa State had an excellent team.

Being raised in rural Trenton, Quayle learned the principles of hard work, perseverance and faith from his parents. They had an uneven basketball court and, in the winter, Quayle would go out and scoop the snow off and shoot baskets in his heavy snow boots. The stone surface was rough and every once-in-a-while a sharp corner would ricochet the ball off in another direction. Quayle learned to adjust and still make the shot.

So, when an assistant basketball coach at Iowa State told Quayle he had some good news-bad news, he was prepared. Iowa State wanted him as a walk-on, but there were no openings. (The ball goes shooting off to the side. Will he make the shot?) This was okay with Quayle because he didn’t think he could keep up with the rigors of Iowa State’s basketball program and the requirements of his studies. Besides, he met Hope, who was also in landscape architecture and would eventually be his wife. (He made the shot — he had Hope!)

Upon graduation, Quayle and Hope were off to Chicago, where they would hook up with an international company that sent them to Morocco. Their intention was to oversee the management and design of properties that were being developed there. However, the business collapsed, and they were halfway around the world with no job. But Quayle was playing pick-up basketball. To make a long story short, he wound up playing professional basketball in Morocco for three years.

“Why not do something you’re good at and you enjoy!” They had three children.

They came back to the states and Quayle was an assistant basketball coach at Central College in Pella before they took off for Cyprus where they joined the company they work for now: Global Sports Partners. While in the U.S. he also picked up his Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University at Irvine, Calif. GSP organizes sports development projects all over the world. At the last count, they’re in 22 different countries doing everything from soccer, to American football, baseball, basketball and adaptive sports. They teach life as well. Sports has the ability to break down barriers, whether it’s cultural, racial, political or ethnic. GSP’s three driving principles are (1) Improving Performance, (2) Increasing Participation and (3) Inspiring Purpose. Quayle is in his element. He has a passion for teaching the game of basketball and mentoring coaches to see the opportunities that the game has in teaching character. He believes and lives a quote attributed to John Wooden and others that, “Basketball is about more than basketball.”

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