Congratulations to our 2017-18 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year Finalists! We look forward to announcing the National Winner on May 18 at the Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference in Chicago.
Click on the Nominees and Finalists tabs to learn more about the Finalists and the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year program!
About The Program
From the grassroots level to the professional level, the positive impact that a coach can have on an athlete is undeniable. A coach’s role extends further than wins and losses; it’s about teaching life lessons and developing young people into healthy, confident and respectful adults through the medium of sport.
The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance have partnered together to create a program designed to honor influential youth basketball coaches and the impactful work that they do for our game. The Jr. NBA Coach of the Year award is given to a youth basketball coach in an NBA and WNBA team market who is making a positive impact on children by demonstrating outstanding integrity, character and leadership.
Each participating NBA and WNBA team nominates a local coach, who is automatically entered into the national Coach of the Year selection process. The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance will conduct a screening process to narrow the pool of nominees to eight (8) national semi-finalists. From the round of eight, an executive panel of judges, along with a fan vote via social media, will determine the top three finalists and national Jr. NBA Coach of the Year winner. View program rules here.
The top three finalists will each be awarded with a financial grant to support their local youth basketball organizations, as well as additional benefits, including a free Positive Coaching Alliance training, basketball equipment and apparel. The finalists will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Chicago where the Coach of the Year winner will be announced and honored on a national stage at the Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference in May 2018.
The following individuals have been recognized by various NBA and WNBA teams for their dedication and influence in their local youth basketball communities.
Barbara Berry is a UW graduate who studied Kinesiology, Sports Medicine and Sports Psychology. She was a starting point guard, played semi-pro and internationally after college. Barbara has over thirty-nine years of high school and college level coaching and teaching experience. From 2002-2005 she was the Director of the Maple Valley Basketball Youth League and the Head Girls’ Basketball Coach at Tahoma HS. Barbara was sponsored by Adidas to teach leadership seminars to children and adults throughout the US. She is the author of “The Golden Rules of Basketball, Fundamentals, Drills and Philosophies”. She played in the 1998 Nike World Masters Games and in the UW Husky’s Alumni games in 2002 and 2004. Her other passions include her dogs, hiking, golfing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, sailing and, of course, coaching and playing basketball. A thought provoking speaker at schools and other community groups inspiring individuals, coaches and players on and off the court by focusing on perceptions, long term vision building, effective communication and leadership skills.
Candice has been coaching youth for 13 years and has been a Jr. Cavs Coach for the last two seasons. This year she led her team of 4<sup>th</sup> & 5<sup>th</sup> grade girls to an undefeated season, winning their League Championship. Through coaching she’s sharing her sincere love of the game with these young athletes while building confidence, sportsmanship and teaching them basic fundamentals. She works full time as a Region International Sales Manager with UPS and in addition to volunteering her time for Jr. Cavs and the Seven Hills Recreation Center she is on the Executive Board for <em>Shoes and Clothes for Kids</em>, whose mission is to improve K-8 school attendance by eliminating lack of appropriate clothing, shoes and school supplies as barriers. Candice and her Wife Jessyka have four children; she is a wonderful example of someone who has found time to give back to her community while balancing a busy work-life schedule.
Coach Cathy Self-Morgan is in her 16th season at the helm of the Duncanville Pantherettes. She has compiled an amazing record of 1022 wins and 206 losses, an 83% winning record in her 36 years of girls’ high school varsity coaching. She led the Pantherettes to the State Championship in 2003, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017. From 2012 to 2014, Coach Self-Morgan’s Pantherettes teams won an amazing 105 consecutive games. Her Duncanville teams have made it to the playoffs all 15 years of her tenure. Before coming to Duncanville, she led the Austin Westlake Chaparrals to the Class 5-A State Championship in 1995 and 1996 and the 4-A State Championship in 1993. She has coached teams to the state playoff’s twenty-nine years and has never had a losing record. In 2014, Coach Self-Morgan was named to the National High School Girls’ Basketball Naismith Coach of the Year and was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In 2013, Coach Self-Morgan was named USA TODAY National Coach of the Year, MAX PREPS National Coach of the Year, Texas Girls Coaches Association Coach of the Year, and Dallas Morning News Coach of the Year. She was also named National Federation of High Schools Sectional Coach of the Year. In 2012, she was Named Texas High School Girls and Dallas Morning News Coach of the Year. She was also named ‘Woman of the Year” in 2012 by the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, she was honored with the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award. In 2010 Coach Self-Morgan was named National High School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association. Texas Sportswriters have named her Texas High School Coach Girls Basketball Coach of the Year 4 times, and while at Westlake was named Centex Coach of the Year an unprecedented 10 times between 1980 and 1996. She has had the honor of coaching Texas All Star teams five times and was a floor coach for the USA Junior Olympic Trials in Colorado in 2000. In March 2004 and 2010, she was selected to coach the McDonald’s All American All-Star game. Coach Self-Morgan began her career in South Texas where she played at Jourdanton High School. She went on to play at Temple Junior College on scholarship for one year before transferring to the University of Texas in Austin where she was one of the first women on athletic scholarship in basketball. While at Texas she was honored as the Most Valuable Player of the team in 1975, Co-Most Valuable Player in 1976, and won the Scholar Athlete award in 1977. She graduated summa cum laude with highest honors in 1977. She received her Master’s in Education from Texas State University, San Marcos, in 1984. Coach Self-Morgan was inducted into the Hall of Honor at the University of Texas, Austin, in 2004. Coach Self-Morgan is married to Jack Morgan. Jack keeps the book for all away games and is the announcer for home games. They have three married daughters and 8 grandchildren. With a strong tradition already established, Coach Self-Morgan continues to utilize her expertise and capitalize on her passion for the game of basketball in coaching the Duncanville Pantherettes. She also served the Duncanville Independent School District as the Athletic Director until 2017.
Chantay Garrett-Frost, a native of Atlanta, Georgia enrolled at Tuskegee University on a four-year scholarship in basketball. A point-guard, she lettered all four years, and was selected to the SIAC All Conference during her tenure at Tuskegee, and was the team’s captain in 1987. A Biology major and Chemistry minor, Garrett-Frost’s performance academically paralleled to her performance on the court. Her leadership transferred off the court as a member of the Student Government Association and 2<sup>nd</sup> Attendant to Miss Tuskegee University. She had noted appearances of Who’s Who in High School and Who’s Who in American Colleges. Garrett-Frost continued her educational journey and went on to earn a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, a Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota and received her certification in Educational Leadership. Garrett-Frost path of excellence continued in her professional career. Starting her career as an Exercise Physiologist at Emory Cardiac Rehab her passion to help and give back led her to Education. Garret-Frost began her educational career in 1989 as a science teacher and has served in various roles from Magnet coordinator, Department chair and Coach. She is most noted for her coaching accomplishments where she has had #1 pre-and post-season rankings, Regional and State Championships, Coach of the Year and Coaching Ambassador just to name a few. She has orchestrated several athletic scholarships for the ladies she has coached during the past 16 years. Garrett-Frost is an active member of Grace Church International and is affiliated with and actively involved with many community, professional, service, social and spiritual organizations. Among them are the Georgia Association of Coaches, Atlanta Tip-Off, and Minority Coaches Associations. Garrett-Frost is strong and consistent supporter of Mother Tuskegee and the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club. Garrett-Frost credits Tuskegee for her successes on and off the court. To show her continued support she coordinates a field trip for students each year and sponsors a student to the annual Fall Open House. She will also sponsor a Passport Scholarship to Tuskegee University to one deserving student athlete. Garrett-Frost lives in Lithonia, GA with her husband and 3 daughters who were all student-athletes and scholarship recipients.
Chris Riley is a graduate of Northwood University who had a dream. He wanted to create a program that would help bridge the gap between inner-city youth and the community they live in. He felt it prudent that he give back to a community that embraced him as a youth. As a result of his hard work and unyielding efforts, Chris Riley founded Sky’s The Limit Community Foundation in 2006 where he began working with other youth organizations to help rid the community of juvenile delinquency and community deterioration by hosting basketball clinics and tournaments. In 2013, Sky’s The Limit received its 501(c)(3) federal tax exemption status by joining the Amateur Athletics Union of the United States. Mr. Riley and Sky’s The Limit continue to provide quality, results driven programs to youth and parents in Pontiac, Michigan. These programs include after-school basketball/study sessions, year-long basketball leagues, and AAU travel teams.
Daryl Eaton became very passionate about coaching after being assigned the head coaching position for a girls’ powderpuff football team when he was in high school. After college, while working in a public-school district that had just cut funding for Physical Education, he created an NFL flag football league with 4 teams in which he held the responsibility of coaching all 4 teams with parent support. These teams developed into a non-profit organization that he branded Future Athletes of Mississippi. After one season of intramural style play, and two seasons of tackle football in different city and county leagues, the players wanted to play basketball. He organized and executed his first basketball camp at a local church gym where he achieved a participation outcome of 100 youth. Soon after, Daryl relocated back to California and began working for the Think Together after school program. There he successfully assisted assembling a multi-school flag football, soccer, and basketball tournament inclusive of 750 student athletes. Daryl’s programs also include 2 seasons of Orange County based NJB basketball, 4 seasons of Town of Apple Valley park and Rec., and 12U defensive backs coaching for the Victor Valley Purge Squad AAU tackle football team. Currently, Daryl is a trainer and 10U head coach for AAU Posterboy Skills Academy in Hesperia, CA, where his team is currently 9-0 this tournament season. Providing the youth another opportunity for skill development, he recently conducted 2 basketball camps for the town of Apple Valley which were both a tremendous success.
Dave Kline, retired from Intel to spend more time with his kids and to coach their teams. He helped form the Kyrene Rotary Club in 2004, leading to more opportunities for community service. He has been coaching middle school kids for 10+ years in basketball and other sports, and he participates in academic programs to role model that school is important too. For the past 6 years, he has focused on the Guadalupe Boys and Girls Club with an emphasis on having fun (for kids to stay active) and on co-ed programs (to keep girls involved in sports). He knows that together we can make a difference in someone’s life.
Denis was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. One of 15 children, he attended Catholic Elementary and High schools where he played basketball, football and baseball. It was during these formative years, he learned to love sports due, in part, to superb coaches who were great role models to him. He went on to graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and attended Brooklyn College where he studied Sociology in graduate school. He joined the NYPD and served for twenty years as an Officer, Detective and Sergeant. After retiring, he has worked in the Insurance Industry investigative fraud at all levels. Mr. Crowley began coaching youth basketball in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1990’s and then, after moving to Staten Island, began his 13 year coaching tenure at St. Christopher’s Elementary School. There, he has coached all levels of both boys and girls basketball from 2<sup>nd</sup> grade through High School. He also has served as a coach of various spring and summer leagues, AAU and Jr. NBA. In all, his teams have won five championships. His joy in coaching, however, comes from teaching his players sportsmanship, hard work and the importance of preparation. He infuses humor and fun in his coaching and his ultimate goal is to instill self-confidence and camaraderie among his players. In addition to coaching, he taught CCD for three years and has been a lecturer at his parish for the past 15 years. He is married and has four children all four of whom he has coached over the years.
Coach Dwynell Mitchell, the visionary of I Beat A.L.L. Inc., has had a passion for the game of basketball since he was a child growing up in the inner city of Detroit. He began playing basketball in elementary school and continued throughout college. Upon migration to Georgia, Coach Mitchell earned his degree from Valdosta State University and after graduation, moved to Atlanta and began playing in adult leagues. He started his professional coaching career at Landmark Christian School, from there on to Whitewater Middle School. He started teaching coaching travel basketball for children in 2011 and has also coached city recreation leagues every year since 2010. Coach Mitchell has been doing one on one and group training since 2013. In August 2008, he was diagnosed with bone cancer, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (A.L.L.), relapsed from the disease in 2016, and throughout hospitalization and treatments, has still remained actively coaching and training.
A former basketball player at Hamline University, Coach Erik Beckler has dedicated his time for more than a decade to coaching teams in eastern portion of the Twin Cities and, currently, in the Mounds View Basketball Association (MVBA). He has coached in-house and traveling teams at all youth levels. Coach Beckler’s long-held affinity for learning, teaching and coaching, has fueled him to become a successful corporate sales and marketing leader in a variety of domestic and international enterprises. His energy, enthusiasm and genuine compassion consistently influences his corporate teams and his youth basketball squads to exceed set goals and expectations. His philosophy is based on the concept he developed of Love, Respect, Service and Fun (L.R.S.F). The first words to his team each year are, “You have my unconditional love” which allows him to focus on and serve the basketball and life skill needs of each of his players, above all. His process helps players – at all skill levels – increase their success on the court, fuel their fire to become better in the off season and see how learnings from playing basketball can translate to other areas of their lives. Coach Beckler’s positive approach and balanced methods have been extremely impactful in the lives of his team, their families, his community and the Minnesota youth basketball community.
Ibin Ingram is the epitome of what it means to be a youth basketball coach, devoting his time and energy to developing his players holistically for the last 19 years. Ingram has excelled as the 8<sup>th</sup> grade team coach for Philly Triple Threat, one of the area’s top basketball programs, and is also the JV Boys basketball coach at Northeast High School. His impact goes far beyond coaching, as he also created The Father and Son Tournament, a mentoring event to improve the lives of young boys in the Philadelphia area who lack a father figure. This event has taken place annually for the last 4 years and has grown in participation each year. Coach Ingram truly leads by example in all aspects of life as he is a devoted husband, father, mentor, and coach. The impact he has made in the lives of his players translates to wins on and off the court.
Jasmine Lee was born and raised in San Francisco, but currently resides in Pittsburgh, California. For the past 4 years, she has coached youth basketball for the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park department. Her goal was always to create a positive and fun learning environment for kids to not only learn the sport of basketball, but to also enjoy it. She strives to make sure each child learns what it means to be a team player, and most importantly, to always give it their all.
Growing up in inner city Providence, Kash Cannon used the game of basketball to overcome personal adversity and become the first person in her family to go to college. After a standout career at Northeastern University, Kash chose to pay-it-forward and give back to other girls from her community by providing them the same opportunities she was given through the power of sport. As the Program Director at Shooting Touch: G3 (Getting Girls in the Game), Kash delivers a youth basketball curriculum that focuses on health and wellness, goal setting and female empowerment. Kash’s program includes a mentoring partnership with female Boston Police officers, college readiness activities, hands-on cooking classes, tutoring from local college athletes and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Open to all Boston inner city girls, Kash also builds relationships with the mothers of her girls, leveraging the whole family unit when trying to increase healthy outcomes.
Representing Grace Athletics, Kevin Wieters has leveraged basketball and other sports to positively impact thousands of Memphis youth. Under the mantra of “Ministry First. Sports Second.”, he and his staff use basketball to cultivate values such as leadership, service and fellowship. In addition to generally serving players of all ages and skill levels, Kevin – recently named Grizzlies Youth Basketball Coach of the Year – also operates a 501c3 that caters to under-served and at-risk youth. He also activates a wide range of team and Jr. NBA programming – including Junior Grizzlies, the Jr. NBA Skills Challenge, and Grizzlies Summer Basketball Camps – and not even a recent health condition could deter his overall efforts.
A former WNBA player and coach, Korie Hlede brings over a decade of coaching experience and has spent time developing players from grades 4 to 11. Korie co-founded the Flow Basketball Academy in Chicago and is currently the Leader of Basketball Development. As a coach, she helps players become more self-aware as well as compassionate towards their teammates through: ongoing honest dialogue between players and coaches, mental training sessions, college counseling and giving 110% no matter how the game is going. Her success in not measured by the number of wins and losses but by the development of players and the impact she has made in their lives.
Coach Macky Bergman brings over 15-years of youth coaching experience to Steady Buckets. Coach Macky has trained boys and girls of all ages, top high school prospects, and NCAA student-athletes, as well as Euro-League and NBA professionals. He played four years of varsity basketball at The University of Rochester under Coach Mike Neer, and received three all-conference academic team honors. In 2010, he started Steady Buckets in order to bring quality skill development training to NYC youth basketball players. Under his leadership, Steady Buckets has thrived and now serves over 2,000 youth, bringing together families from 142 of NYC’s 178 zip codes. Steady Buckets is an innovative basketball skills acquisition, physical fitness and life skills development program for boys and girls ages 4-18 in the greater New York City area. The program’s objective is to develop hard working, resilient, empathetic and confident individuals who will make a positive contribution to their communities.
Marcus Clark has been coaching basketball – from youth rec leagues to high school – for the past 20 years. Coach Clark excels as a teacher on and off the court; using the game he loves to teach his players valuable life lessons. In addition to his coaching and coordination of basketball camps & clinics, he has also developed his own youth mentoring program called ZipCode Kids, which focuses on youth participation in community service, academic enrichment, employability skills, and teaching young people, parents, and coaches the necessary skills to be a successful participant in the game of life outside of the court. Coach Clark not only possesses in-depth knowledgeable and expertise in the area of sports, skill development training, and teaching kids technical and tactical skills, but he is also passionate about helping his players develop into respectful, responsible young men and women. Coach Clark takes his roles as coach, skill development specialist, mentor and role model very serious and brings a great deal of enthusiasm to his craft.
Matt Morrison with Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District has been involved in the coaching field for over 16 years in the Northwest region. Starting out as a Hockey Coach, Matt soon developed a passion for youth basketball. Coach Matt has been with Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District for just over four years now, where he finds his passion in coaching youth sports is seeing his athletes learn a new skill and build confidence through the learning process. One thing Coach Matt focuses on with his athletes is supporting teammates and holding each other accountable both on and off the court. Coach Matt would like to use his Jr. NBA Coach of the Year Nomination as a platform to thank the parents and guardians that put consistent time and effort into bettering their child’s life through basketball.
Mike Soma started coaching eleven years ago at the Titusville YMCA Family Center in Titusville, Florida. Coach Soma began working with his 4-year-old daughter’s basketball team as an assistant and soon became more involved with numerous sports in which his three children participated. He has built an extensive relationship with youth in Titusville, continuing to work with, mentor and develop underprivileged kids that visit the YMCA. Coach Soma has also pioneered a new physical education program to raise awareness and decrease bullying and teen suicide.
Mr. Brown has been volunteer coaching various sports in the St. Charles Community for more than 40 years. Coach Rob, which he is affectionately referred to as, has not only coached his own children who were brought up through the recreation programs in St. Charles Parish but has continued to coach even though his children are now adults with children of their own. Mr. Brown has an infectious positive attitude towards our youth participants and genuinely cares about their wellbeing and safety on and off the court. Coach Rob’s desire for the players is to succeed or excel beyond his or her limitations is far more important than win/loss records, championships, or trophies. He believes in establishing a foundation; foundations which require a recipe for success on and off the court. Coach Rob loves the game of basketball, and adores its power to bring a community together.
Stephanie Chico has coached for Sunrise Recreation and Park District for 16 years. In those 16 years, she has coached 25 teams at 6 different schools and has won 9 championships. Beyond her 16 years of service, Stephanie is a true players coach. To this day she still has players that call her for advice and guidance, in high school and beyond. She goes to her old players high school games just to cheer them on and provide support, and also recruits them to help coach her younger teams to keep them on the court. She also volunteers her time to transport students to and from school, practice, and other extracurriculars when they need extra help. She is a natural coach and has a unique ability to teach the game of basketball to all personalities. Her ultimate goal is to help her kids be better players and teammates both on and off the court.
Dr. Sterling C. Jack was born and raised in Utah. He coaches multiple Junior Jazz basketball teams each year and has coached 24 teams over the past 9 years. In addition to coaching, Sterling is also involved with youth through a mentor program working with refugees, the Boy Scouts of America and a non-profit organization that aims to eradicate hunger among kids. He strives to help kids understand the lessons they can learn on and off the court through the game of basketball. Sterling and his wife Erin have six children, 2 girls and 4 boys.
These semifinalists were selected because they have not only been successful in bettering their athletes on the court, but have also shown that their main focus was to make these athletes better people in their communities. These coaches have established and fostered meaningful relationships with their athletes and their families over the years, and have incorporated valuable life lessons into every aspect of basketball they coach.
The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance are pleased to announce the following coaches as this year’s Coach of the Year Finalists: Coach Kash Cannon (nominated by the Boston Celtics), Coach Chris Riley (nominated by the Detroit Pistons) and Coach Mike Soma (nominated by the Orlando Magic). The Finalists were selected by a panel of judges, including Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, NBA legend Dell Curry and ESPN Analyst Doris Burke, along with fan voting via social media.
Executive Voting Panel
Our Executive Voting Panel is comprised of various individuals from the Jr. NBA Leadership Council, NBA league office and Positive Coaching Alliance. This panel is tasked with providing guidance on the selection of our Coach of the Year finalists and national winner based on their respective basketball knowledge and experience.
Jennifer Azzi is a former basketball coach of the women’s team at the University of San Francisco. She played four years at Stanford University, started her professional career on the San Jose Lasers of the ABL, and went on to play in the WNBA for the Detroit Shock and Utah Starz, now the San Antonio Stars. Azzi is also an Olympic and FIBA world champion. After retiring, Azzi served on the Board of Directors of USA Basketball and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2016, Azzi publicly came out as gay, announcing her marriage to USF assistant Blair Hardiek at the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award ceremony.
With 18 years of professional coaching experience and two WNBA championships, Boucek returns to Sacramento after most recently serving as the head coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm from 2015-17. Her resume includes two-plus seasons as the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09, where she led the team to a 40-41 record. Boucek was involved in the WNBA since its inaugural season, suiting up for the Cleveland Rockers in 1997. Following a career-ending injury in 1998, she began her WNBA coaching career as an assistant with the Washington Mystics in 1999. She then spent time as an assistant with the Miami Sol and Seattle Storm, and was part of the Storm’s first WNBA Championship in 2004. The Storm won their second WNBA crown in 2010 with Boucek on staff in a similar role. Boucek is distinguished as the first athlete to play in the WNBA and subsequently serve as both an assistant and head coach in the league. Prior to coaching, the Tennessee native was voted Foreign Player of the Year after leading Keflavik to the Icelandic Championship and Icelandic Basketball Cup in 1998. A four-year starter at the University of Virginia from 1992-1996, Boucek helped lead the Cavaliers to four regular season ACC Championships and three NCAA Elite Eight appearances.
Renee Brown is the former WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations. Brown joined the WNBA in its inaugural season in 1996. During her tenure at the league, she was responsible for overseeing the policies for all oncourt basketball operations as well as the administration of player-related programs. Currently, Brown serves as a member of the Jr. NBA Leadership Council and USAB Board of Directors.
ESPN named Doris Burke a full-time ESPN NBA game analyst just ahead of the 2017-18 NBA season. Across nearly three decades, she has been a top commentator on several significant ESPN properties, including the NBA, women’s and men’s college basketball and the WNBA. She also serves as the lead ESPN NBA sideline reporter for NBA playoff games and the <em>NBA Finals </em>on ABC. Burke has covered basketball for ESPN since 1991 and has been the recipient of several awards and honors, including a recipient of the 2017 WISE Women of the Year award. Burke previously served as a WNBA analyst for the New York Liberty on MSG Network, a women’s college basketball analyst on CBS Sports and New England Sports Network (NESN), an analyst on regional coverage of BIG EAST and Atlantic-10 women’s basketball, and a radio play-by-play commentator for Providence College men’s and women’s basketball. A former basketball standout at Providence College who held seven records upon graduation, Burke served as an assistant coach for her Alma mater for two years. She was later inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from the school in 2005. Raised in Manasquan, N.J., Burke graduated from Providence College with a degree in health service administration/social work and also earned her master’s in education at Providence.
Rick Carlisle is the President of the NBA Coaches Association. Carlisle is one of eleven individuals to have won an NBA Championship as both a player (Boston Celtics- 1986) and a Head Coach. Carlisle got his first Head Coaching job in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in 2001, where he eventually went on to win Coach of The Year honors in 2002. In 2003, Carlisle was hired as the Head Coach of the Indiana Pacers, where he spent four seasons. In 2007, Carlisle resigned as Head Coach and Executive Vice-President of the Indiana Pacers and began working as a studio analyst for ESPN. In 2008 Carlisle was hired as Head Coach of the Dallas Mavericks, where he eventually went on to win the NBA Championship in 2011 over the Miami Heat. In November of 2015, Carlisle became the winningest Coach in Dallas Mavericks history and in December of 2017, Carlisle recorded his 700th win against the Los Angeles Clippers, becoming the 18th coach in NBA history to reach the milestone. He now joins San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers as the only active coaches to reach 700 wins. Carlisle is on pace to pass John MacLeod (707 wins) at 17th place for all time wins as a coach.
Rick, and his wife, Donna, have a daughter, Abby. Carlisle enjoys golf, piano and spending time with family, which includes two dogs, Moe Norman and Zoe.
Tamika Catchings is a retired WNBA player who played her entire 15-year career for the Indiana Fever. Catchings has won a WNBA championship, WNBA Most Valuable Player Award, WNBA Finals MVP Award, five WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards, four Olympic gold medals, and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award. She has also been selected to ten WNBA All-Star teams, 12 All-WNBA teams, 12 All-Defensive teams and led the league in steals eight times. She is one of 9 women to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. In 2011, Catchings was voted in by fans as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time. In 2004, Catchings founded the Catch the Stars Foundation, a charitable organization that provides basketball camps, fitness clinics, mentoring and literacy programs for underprivileged children to help them become successful in sports and academics. In April 2017, Catchings was named Director of Player Programs and Franchise Development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Jason Collins is a Stanford University graduate and 13-year veteran of the NBA who played for New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, and Brooklyn and who went to two NBA Finals. Off the court, he was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame and serves as an NBA Cares Ambassador, furthering the league’s efforts to address social issues. Collins made history after the 2012-13 season, becoming the first active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports to come out as gay.
Wardell Stephen “Dell” Curry I played in the NBA from 1986 until 2002 for Utah, Cleveland, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Toronto. He retired as the Charlotte Hornets ‘ all-time leader in points (9,839) and three-point field goals made (929). Curry currently works as a color commentator on Charlotte Hornets television broadcasts. He also established a charitable foundation, the Dell Curry Foundation, that runs learning centers in Charlotte to provide educational training and drug abuse counseling. Dell is the father of current NBA players Steph Curry and Seth Curry.
Ernie Johnson, known as “E.J.”, graduated from University of Georgia with a B.A. in journalism and has since worked as a play-by-play announcer and studio host across numerous sports including basketball, baseball, golf, and football. Johnson is currently a sportscaster for Turner Sports and CBS Sports. He works as the studio host for TNT’s coverage of the NBA, including pregame and halftime shows, and the network’s famous postgame studio show that airs after each NBA doubleheader, Inside the NBA, which he has hosted since 1990.
Jim Thompson is CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit organization he founded at Stanford University in 1998. PCA’s mission is to transform the culture of youth sports and high school sports with the goal to develop Better Athletes, Better People. Jim is also the author of nine books on youth sports coaching, parenting and organizational culture.
E.M. ‘Kiki’ VanDeWeghe III, the NBA’s Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, joined the NBA league office in April 2013. He has been involved in a broad range of basketball matters, including the development of playing rules and interpretations, game analytics, disciplinary matters, and policies and procedures relating to the operation of NBA games. He also serves as a key liaison between the league and its teams, drawing upon his experience as a general manager, coach, and player. VanDeWeghe’s NBA playing career spanned 13 years, with Denver, Portland, New York, and LA Clippers, during which he made two All-Star appearances and helped his teams to the postseason 12 times.