Photo by Joe Stepansky

Bob Byer — Teaching Life Lessons on the Hardwood

By Joe Stepansky

Robert Byer runs a youth sports program in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill — but the lessons he teaches go far beyond the court.

Even after his own children outgrew the program, Mr. Byer kept at it. “As a black male working with young black males,” he said, “I have a unique place to act as a role model; to say, ‘Look at me, I went to college. With hard work you can, too.’”

Mr. Byer attended Adelphi University and St. John’s University, but even before that, he coached his brother in the Co-op City Little League, where he realized the potential to change young people’s lives through sports.

So when you see him walking the court at the Brooklyn Career Development Center, it’s no surprise to see some tough love.

“Where were you on Thursday? You know we had practice,” he said to a young man.