University Basketball Players are brothers and world travelers
By Sarah Baer
Traveling the world sounds exotic and adventurous. For two University of Findlay students, who are also brothers in a military family, it has been arduous at times but also exhilarating.
Nick and Matthew Ashley both play for the UF Basketball Team. Nick, 20 is a sophomore and Matt, 18 is a freshman. The brother’s father is a United States Marine Corps Officer and is currently stationed in Japan.
During their childhood they lived in the State of Georgia, California, the country of Germany, and most recently Japan.
“Our father was stationed at the United States Embassy in Paris when he met our mother there. She was from Nigeria, but she was studying in Paris,” said Nick. After their parents were married the family moved to Georgia where they spent the first few years of childhood.
Major Ashley was then stationed in California and the family followed him to his next duty station. The Ashleys remained in California for almost 10 years before residing in Germany for three years and a couple years in Japan. Then Nick started college at the University of Akron, in Ohio.
Making friends and then leaving friends has been challenging but playing sports has helped the brothers make and maintain friendships.
“After Germany we kind of got used to saying goodbye,” said Matt Ashley.
The brothers say that they are not outwardly competitive against each other but they find themselves taking that extra shot or making that next basket to push the other brother to make one.
“We may not show it out on the court but there are little things we do to push each other,” Nick said.
Nick did not play basketball at the University of Akron but when Matt applied for the University of Findlay, the brothers both reached out to Coach Charlie Ernst.
“I get 30 recruiting emails a day on average, but something personal about the email from their father, struck me to inquire more. My assistant coach, Dan Shardo, then reached out to them and got video and that’s how the process originated,” Ernst said.
Coaching brothers at the same time on any sports team is not a regular occurrence.
“I have coached at Findlay since 1992 and believe or not, we had two sets of brothers on that team at the same time. It was my first year as assistant coach and we had brothers, Chip and David Smith and then a second set of brothers named Kenny and Victor Washington,” said Ernst. “I don’t remember any other time coaching brothers again until 2016.”
“Matt and Nick are both very competitive kids. They like to compete against one another. They are different players, play different positions, and play different roles, so it doesn’t happen often,” Ernst said.
Both brothers speak fondly of their experiences and closeness with their mother and father and say they are making the best of their University of Findlay experience.