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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Tristan Hannah ’20

Chicago, IL

Major: Psychology Minor: Africana Studies

Hannah coaches with the Cubs Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.

As a homegrown Chicago White Sox fan, the thought of working for the rival Chicago Cubs might have seemed like a cruel fate for Tristan Hannah ’20. But coaching for the Cubs Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, the same nonprofit organization that helped him thrive as a baseball player and land on Knox’s baseball team, is nothing short of an honor—despite the irony.

Hannah began coaching with the RBI program in the winter of 2020, following his graduation from Knox. RBI is a Major League Baseball (MLB) outreach program designed to promote youth from diverse backgrounds into playing baseball, while also promoting academics and the value of teamwork. When the participating kids aren’t sliding around the bases, they take part in community engagement activities.

“This program isn’t just about baseball. It’s about giving back to the community as well,” Hannah said. “It’s amazing seeing the resources the Cubs put towards these people to not only make them better baseball players but also better human beings.”

For Hannah, the opportunity to be a coach was a dream come true. Now, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Knox, he says he’s able to coach his team differently than he might have when he was younger. Viewing the behavior of his players from a psychological perspective helps Hannah understand why kids behave the way they do on and off the field.

“If a kid is having a bad day, I won’t just shrug it off. I’ll address it head-on, ask what’s going on, and ask how I can help,” Hannah said. “I'm solution focused. I want to find out how we can get better.”

Hannah has always enjoyed playing sports. Between baseball, football, and a home filled with professional bowlers, sports have played a key role in his life. 

Hannah played on a baseball team through the same RBI program in high school. He says the program pushed him to be a better player and, in return, pushed him to be scouted by colleges, including Knox. “Knox offered me to be able to play for a college and have a great education. It was a no-brainer.”

While performing his role as a reliable bat in the lineup and a sturdy defender at first base for the Prairie Fire, Hannah was also hard at work studying to complete his psychology degree. Hannah says he was interested in learning how the brain works and how and why people behave the way they do. Currently, he is attending graduate school at Adler University for a degree in clinical mental health counseling and sports and human performance.  

Thinking back to his Knox education, Hannah mentioned Professor Emeritus of Psychology Tim Kasser having a big impact on his learning. He says Kasser made sure he stayed on track and felt that he looked out for each of his students. Hannah also mentioned James Clark ’09, sports information director and associate head baseball coach-recruiting coordinator, with whom he says he stays in touch with alongside his other teammates. 

“Knox is such a diverse place. Being able to be in a room full of so many different people opens you up to new things,” Hannah said. “Now, I’m in rooms with CEOs and managers. I feel like Knox helped me know how to communicate with them on a professional level.”

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Knox College

https://www.knox.edu/profiles/hannah-tristan-20

Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024