WEST LAFAYETTE — Coincidentally enough, Elliot Bloom considers himself a late bloomer. And although his ride has been anything but easy, the Mt. Vernon alum believes he is lucky.
He knows that in life, all good things take time.
Bloom, who played basketball, golf and soccer for the Marauders, said, after having his growth spurt much later than kids his age, playing varsity sports at Mt. Vernon shaped who he is today. With a passion for hoops, growing up in Indiana was perfect, he recalls.
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But after turning down small college offers once experiencing athletic success late in high school, Bloom, who graduated in 1995, decided to attend Purdue University in search of a new life centered around his first love — sports.
Working in the athletic department as an undergrad, Bloom bounced around some of the top universities in the country, learning from some of the best sports minds in the business.
For the past 15 years, however, Bloom has found a home in West Lafayette, where he has serves as the director of basketball operations for the Boilermakers men’s basketball team.
The Daily Reporter caught up with Bloom to talk about his journey and current job at Purdue.
Can you talk about growing up around Mt. Vernon and playing sports early in your career?
Basketball was always a passion of mine, growing up being a fan. I was a late developer physically. I didn’t really grow up until my junior year. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten that sooner. It was great I played for coach Jimmie Howell. Football had really not yet got going. The main deal was basketball. He was obviously a great coach. Obviously basketball was a big deal around there, it is anywhere in Indiana. But I just had a great time playing at Mt. Vernon.
What led you to Purdue and what opportunities were you able to experience as an undergraduate?
I knew I wanted to do something around sports. I started working in the sports information department. For three years, I was working with various teams here, football and basketball and traveling with some of the teams. I worked most of the home events. I really got great work experience and got to meet a lot of great people. It was well before social media, so we didn’t have to worry about Twitter or Facebook.
Can you talk about how you wound up at the University of Kansas with an internship after Purdue?
When you break into this field, you basically realize you need to do an internship somewhere. I actually forgot I applied at Kansas. They called a few weeks before I graduated. I did a follow-up interview, and they called a day later and said they wanted me but needed to know that day. I had never been to Kansas before. I slept on it, it was only a year, so I went ahead and did it. It was one of the best times of my life. I was making nothing and working all the time. I barely made any money but got to be around some great basketball and be around some great teams and coaches there. It was a great, great year.
What has been it been like working with all these legendary coaches, like Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski?
It’s been great, going on from Kansas and to Duke and back to Purdue. It’s three different leagues, and I met a whole set of different individuals. It was good to be around those types of personalities. The coaches, some of the biggest names in the business, are all great guys. When I came back to Purdue, I got to work with coach Gene Keady and then coach Matt Painter came on board. I feel really lucky to have done that. Coach Painter and I developed a really close relationship, and he said if I ever come on board, I want you to be my director of basketball operations. We had a guy leave, and the position opened up.
So what exactly does a director of basketball operations do?
I kind of oversee all of the administrative side of our team. I help with recruiting in a sense by helping organize it. I handle all of our budget and run our summer camps and travel. Also the nonconference scheduling. It’s a blast. When I wake up in the morning I honestly don’t feel like I’m going to work. Through all of this, the income never mattered. I always wanted to feel like I was helping the team.
What has been the coolest event you’ve been to or experience you have had through all of this?
When I was at Duke they won the national title in 2001, so we got to go to the White House and meet the president and do the whole tour. I have seen a lot of the world because of basketball. We are about to go to Spain with the team. We have played in the Maui Tournament twice. I wouldn’t be able to do that without this. I am grateful for that.
Elliot Bloom, Purdue Men’s Basketball Director of Basketball Operations
High School: Mt. Vernon (1995)
Education: Purdue B.A. (1999)
Children: Lucy and Charlie
• 1999-00: Kansas, sports information intern
• 2001: Duke, assistant director of sports information
• 2002-03: Purdue, assistant director of sports information
• 2004-08: Purdue, associate director of sports information
• 2009-14: Purdue, supervisor of basketball operations
• 2014-present.: Purdue, director of basketball operations