Men’s basketball team surprises walk-on player with full scholarship

Greg Tarca lifts weights.

Giving his all

Greg Tarca, kneeling, was awarded a surprise full scholarship for his continued dedication to the men's basketball team.


ne of our men’s basketball players got the gift of a lifetime at this year’s team’s holiday party.

In a video that has gone viral and has been shared across the country, Athletics and Recreation Director Greg Amodio presents a special gift as part of Secret Santa to Greg Tarca, a senior walk-on guard who has been playing with the team since his freshman year. Instead of unwrapping a T-shirt or mug, Tarca found a full academic scholarship.

“It’s every walk-on’s dream,” Tarca, a co-captain and management major, said. “My mom didn’t believe me when I called her. It’s the type of thing that only happens in movies.”

Greg Amodio, director of athletics and recreation, hands Greg Tarca a wrapped present

Greg Tarca, No. 33, participates in a practice.

Walk-on turned co-captain

Greg Tarca, No. 33, joined the team as a walk-on his freshman year. His teammates recognized his dedication and passion by voting him a co-captain this season.

Our men’s basketball team has 13 scholarships available and when one opened up, men’s head basketball coach Baker Dunleavy knew exactly who should receive it.

“His presence brings the team closer together,” he said. “On and off the court, he gives everything — he does his all.”

Tarca’s teammates’ enthusiastic response confirmed what Dunleavy knew: that he was the glue that held the program together.

BS in Management

“It means a lot when guys who do the right thing get rewarded,” Dunleavy said.

Tarca, who was named to the Metro Atlantic Athletics Conference’s All-Academic Team for his success in the classroom, said being part of the team has always been an extreme honor.

“It’s really special,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a life-changer. It’s a lot of money and I never really expected it — but I feel extremely grateful and blessed.”

A spirited orientation leader and member of the Quinnipiac Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Tarca said his involvement with the team has enabled him to get to know more people and see a more complete view of Quinnipiac.

“I love my school,” he said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to become so involved through academics, extracurricular and athletics. It’s a really amazing place.”