ALBANY – Ali Jaques and Marc Rybczyk, who were married two years ago, were both forced out of basketball.
For Jaques, it was losing her job as Siena women’s basketball coach last March. For Rybczyk, it was nearly losing his life to stage 4 cancer.
They’re back now and both will be affiliated with the Albany Patroons of The Basketball League. Jaques is starting a broadcasting career and she’ll be the analyst for their home games when the 2022 season begins in March. Rybczyk is now healthy enough to join new head coach Will Brown’s staff as an assistant coach.
Rybczyk, a former Niagara men’s basketball assistant, was introduced at a media availability on Tuesday at Washington Avenue Armory.
“Honestly, I get emotional when I talk about it because he’s someone who belongs on the sidelines and it was just a matter of time and I’m just really grateful that it worked out that Coach Brown had an opportunity for him and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Jaques said.
Rybczyk, now looking healthy at about 245 pounds, said he lost about 60 pounds during his battle with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was diagnosed in October 2018.
He took a medical leave of absence, but then Purple Eagles head coach Chris Casey and his staff were fired after the 2018-19 season.
Rybczyk gradually recovered after several sessions of chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He and Jaques were married in August 2019 and live in a townhouse in Albany.
Now Rybczyk is excited to be back on the bench.
“It feels great,” he said. “It’s the right time and the right place. Last year, I was thinking about trying to get back in, but I still wasn’t 100 percent and I told everybody was because I was sick of not being normal. You just keep fighting to be normal. In my head I knew it, so I really didn’t go after anything 100 percent.
“But I started feeling great and then this came about,” Rybczyk continued. “I’ve been feeling great for a few months and I’ve been cleared of cancer in March and I’m ready to go. Being laid up for so long and when you’re forced out by something that’s not in your control, it makes you hungry to come back.”
Meanwhile, Jaques decided on a career change after Siena let her contract expire after nine seasons. She works as an analyst for UAlbany women’s home games on ESPN+ and ESPN3 and did the Battle 4 Atlantis women’s tournament in The Bahamas last month for FloSports.
The Patroons announced recently Jaques and Spectrum anchor Marisa Jacques will serve as their home announcing team, mostly likely in a livestreaming format. Jacques will handle play-by-play. Jaques said her husband was already set to join the Patroons staff when the broadcasting opportunity came up.
Jaques was a broadcast journalism major at New York University.
“It’s been good,” she said. “I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities and I’m taking every chance I get to get better and had some pretty good feedback. I covered Battle 4 Atlantis and that was a lot of fun. You just don’t know where things are going and I’m just staying in the moment and trying to get better every day.”
Jaques said she was told in college when she anchored NYU’s television news station that she should probably hire an agent.
“My career took a different path,” she said. “I enjoy it. I enjoy being live. I enjoy analyzing coaching moves and it’s a lot of fun for me. I’ve been told I’m very natural on camera and it comes naturally to me, but I’m just trying to have my facts straight and do the best I can.”
Now Jaques will be analyzing the coaching moves on a team that includes her husband.
“We’re going have to work through an agreement ahead of time and agree to maybe not bring work home with us,” Jaques said with a laugh.
Albany Patroons hire husband and wife restarting basketball careers appeared first on maserietv.com.