For a regular student at , finding time for sleep might be considered a complex task. For Jack Trotter, forget it.
In his first three years at Stanford, the 2008 graduate found a way to manage his academic load with his responsibilities as a member of the men’s basketball team.
“It was super tough,” Trotter said. “It definitely taught me discipline because that was required to get everything done.”
He put his time management skills to an even greater test early in 2011 when he ran for – and was elected – one Stanford’s four senior class presidents. His father, Dave Trotter, sits on the Moraga Town Council, but a run at student government wasn’t on his mind until an old friend recruited him.
“It was actually completely random. A friend of mine from sophomore year Facebooked me, asking me if I was interested in running,” Trotter said. “I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds awesome.’”
So like that, a campaign was born.
His slate was a diverse group that pulled from several student constituencies and unseated the incumbents by a few hundred votes.
Since being elected, Trotter has been busier than ever.
“You have to be very strict with your sleep schedule,” he said. “If you have 20 minutes of free time, well, you better bring your laptop and be productive with that time. If you’re flying, well, you could sleep on the plane, but realistically that’s not going to be productive sleep so you might as well be working. I’ve kind of taken that to a new level this year with my commitments as the senior class president and academically, taking quite the course load as well.”
Stanford basketball coach Johnny Dawkins said Trotter’s commitment to the basketball team hasn’t waived despite his added campus responsibilities. In fact, Trotter serves as one of the Cardinal’s four captains.
“It’s incredible,” Dawkins said. “He’s done a really good job of keeping a balance between what he’s doing academically, what he’s doing with his leadership role and what he’s doing with our team. He manages his time very well. I know, for us, you can’t tell he has any other responsibilities, which says a lot about him. When he’s here, he’s here, he’s engaged.”
Trotter’s path to Stanford was markedly different than his ascension to senior class president.
“I recruited myself,” he said. “I reached out to the coaches and said, ‘Look, I’d like to walk on.’ I had some pretty gaudy numbers, but not a lot of hype or buzz.”
Trotter led Campo to the North Coast Section Division III championship in 2008, was the Diablo Foothill League MVP and a third-team all-state selection, but didn’t receive significant recruiting interest.
After his freshman year, Trotter was given a scholarship and started all 32 games as a sophomore when he averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. His role steadily declined after Stanford added more high-profile recruits to the program. Trotter was actually set to return to walk-on status this year, but Jeremy Green decided to forgo his final season of eligibility to pursue professional basketball, which freed up a scholarship for Trotter’s final year.
The Cardinal will play at rival Cal on Sunday at 5:30 p.m., in what will be his final return to his East Bay roots. He’s started two games this year and played in 14 of the team’s 20 games for the team which sit a game out of first place in the Pac-12 standings.
Note: The Stanford Athletic Department put together an excellent video, that profiles Jack Trotter. It can be viewed in the video section of this article, or clicking by here.
Kyle Bonagura covers Stanford for CBSSports.com. Follow him on Twitter