A FORMER Coburns Primary student who became a college basketballer and is now an AFL-listed footballer has told pupils at the school of his rise to the top.
"It was nice to get back to my old school and have a chat to the kids and a bit of a kick around," Geelong-listed Ryan Bathie says.
Bathie and Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel visited the Melton school as part of its Education Week activities.
The former Melton resident, 25, told how after graduating from Mowbray College in 2004, he played basketball for the Melbourne Tigers before spending four years at Louisiana's Nicholls State University.
On his return, he switched to football in 2010.
"I played football during high school and then a good opportunity presented from Geelong Football Club to join the team," he says.
Bathie completed a degree in business administration as part of a four-year college scholarship.
"I was lucky enough to be playing basketball, but to get the degree at the same time was a bonus. It's good to have it under my belt." For now, though, Bathie is concentrating on breaking into Geelong's AFL side. This has required a shift in his training, with a focus on more aerobic and long-distance work.
Bathie was named as a substitute for one NAB Cup game last year. He also played 17 VFL games and kicked two goals. He finished 11th in the side's best and fairest.
He enjoys living in Geelong but says he loves visiting his home town to see his parents.
"Since I've left Melton in the last two years I've noticed the population has grown. There's housing popping up everywhere."
As for young athletes, he says the best advice he can offer is to be consistently tenacious.
"Work as hard as you can. If you don't get there initially, keep working at it. It will happen."