The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance 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 nominated by an NBA, WNBA, or G League team who is making a positive impact on youth by demonstrating outstanding integrity, character and leadership.
Click on the Nominees and Semifinalists tabs to learn more about the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year program!
The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance are proud to announce the 8 semifinalists for the national Coach of the Year award, due to their outstanding integrity, character, and leadership.
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.
- About The Program
From the grassroots level to the professional level, the positive impact that a coach can have on an athlete is invaluable. A coach’s role extends beyond wins and losses to teaching life lessons and developing young people into healthy, confident and respectful adults through the medium of sport.
Each participating NBA, WNBA and G League 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 semifinalists. 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.
The top three finalists will each be awarded with a financial grant to support their local youth basketball organizations. The winner will be announced on Jr. NBA social media on May 29, 2020.
The following individuals have been recognized by various NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League teams for their dedication and influence in their local youth basketball communities. These outstanding coaches are in consideration for the 2020 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year award.
Jay Moore is a community leader who constantly strives to better his community through basketball. He was raised in Clayton County, Georgia, and went on to play basketball at Lovejoy High School. After attending college at Jackson State University, he returned to his old stomping grounds as an Associate Head Coach at Lovejoy High School. Moore started his own training company –Bouncenation Training –and Bouncenation FBC travel basketball program. Over the years, Bouncenation has grown into one of the leading training companies in the country. Moore is a father of one (Jamison Moore), and lives by the quote, “family means everything to me.”
A logistics specialist by trade, Coach Gladney began his youth coaching career assisting his daughter’s adaptive basketball team as a way to support her through her disability. Very quickly, Coach Gladney took over the head coaching role of the Henry County Hurricanes. Since taking the helm, he has helped to lead the team to multiple championships and has created countless memories for his athletes, setting an example as a mentor and supporter.
Ryan Martin is a global champion for adaptive sports, specially wheelchair basketball. He operates a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth basketball and is the Executive Director of the international NPO, The Ryan Martin Foundation (RMF) founded in 2006. Through his junior national teams, local camps and international clinics, he has provided hundred of youth opportunities to play the sport who might not have otherwise had access. RMF’s mission is to help youth athletes with disabilities live independent, impassioned, productive and full lives through sports training, mentoring and education.
James Pristouris is the CEO and Founder of Super League Athletic Academy. James is a graduate of Quinnipiac University with a Masters in Business Administration. James has served as Director of Athletics at the High School level, creating physical education programs and administering youth sports training camps.
Coach Dwayne has been a staple in the Providence Day girls basketball program as well as with Hornets Hoops. He instills confidence in each kid while still teaching the fundamentals of the game of basketball. For 10 years he was the varsity assistant and also the player development coach in South Carolina. During that time Coach Robinson won the high school women state championship in South Carolina in 2014-2015 after joining as assistant coach and finishing with a record of 27-0. He then took on a position with Providence Day Middle School girls as head coach for 3 years and finished first in the conference 2 out of the 3 seasons. After, he took over as the head JV coach in 2019-20, when they won the conference championship finishing 12-0. Coach Dwayne has been a role model to kids from all sorts of backgrounds on and off the court.
Gerard Vergara has been coaching for 6 plus years with a variety of different programs including Bulls Kid Nation Youth Hoops, A Step Ahead Basketball, Win Sports Academy, and Montini Catholic High School. Gerard accidentally discovered his passion for coaching when he volunteered to help coach his son’s soccer team, and he instantly fell in love with coaching and helping others athletically, spiritually, and socially. Gerard’s philosophy is one that encourages learning and not to fear failure. He believes making mistakes is a normal process of learning and that we learn and grow from our mistakes as well as our accomplishments.
“Coach Mike” is the founder and president of In the Paint Basketball. Mike is a product of the Chicago Public Schools. He played the center position for Hirsch High School where he became an All-City and All-State basketball player. While attending the College of DuPage community college, he became a Junior College All-American. After spending a year at the University of Michigan, he transferred and went on to become a First Team All-MAC conference player at Central Michigan University. Then, in 1981, he was drafted by the Utah Jazz and went on to play professionally for 8 seasons in European basketball leagues. In 2000, Mike Robinson founded Next Level Coaching, motivational workshops and life coaching company. Today, he is combining his basketball experience with his motivational and life coaching expertise to help athletes perform at higher levels.
Joe has coached at the YMCA since 2015. He started coaching his nephew’s team, and ever since that first season, there has been a waiting list to be on Coach Joe’s team. His energy and positive mental attitude are unmatched. At one point, Joe coached three teams and was at the YMCA every Saturday. Joe is currently coaching the 5-6-year-old division of girls. There were so many requests for him to coach he was given the whole age group because members would not sign their kids up to play if he wasn’t the coach. So Joe then drafted his wife Shelley into being his assistant. On game days, Joe splits the roster up and coaches one side during the first half and then the other side in the second half. The confidence and skill level of every player Joe coaches improve every session. After each game, there is a line to shake hands with Coach Joe. Joe also coaches all three sessions of Jr Cavs every year.
A Dallas, Texas native, Shedrick passionately uses his love for basketball as a tool to cultivate young athletes into young men and women of integrity. His inspiration for being a coach came from his knowledge of being a young basketball player in the inner-city suburb of Pleasant Grove. The importance of the youth being connected to a positive outlet daily and the dire need for positive male-role models, sparked a passion within to ignite youth with his love of basketball. Shedrick began hosting an annual community basketball tournament in 2011 for 4 consecutive years. Shortly after, through exposure to youth sports as a parent, he often saw the integrity of the coaches were diminishing and stepped in to help grow and build up the programs his children participated in. At the end of 2016, Shedrick started the Kings Ball organization.
Shae is a young and influential coach throughout Michigan’s basketball community. She is currently 20 years old and has overcome an adversity-filled upbringing to become a well-known and respected coach in Detroit. Shae utilizes her past struggles to motivate, empower, and encourage youth and young adults of all backgrounds. In addition to being the founder of her own personal training business (Oleta One Basketball), Shae coaches AAU basketball in Detroit, works with the Detroit Pistons Academy Youth Basketball Program, is the first female African American student assistant/coach at Madonna University, and volunteers her time at multiple basketball camps and clinics throughout the state of Michigan.
My name is Troy Druppal. I battled osteosarcoma in 2004 which got diagnosed to terminal cancer which I fought for over 10 years, I lost my left arm and was given only 6 months to live in 2007. In December 2018 I was diagnosed as cancer free and I didn’t receive any treatment. I changed my lifestyle from eating natural whole foods, exercise, and mindset and because of that I am grateful to be in complete remission. Through the many obstacles I’ve faced in my life, the one thing that I really get great joy from is coaching and inspiring the youth. Basketball is a game that is based from fundamentals and teamwork and that is something that I have modeled my coaching style from. My life has been revamped through the game of basketball, so when people say “Ball is life” I am the walking embodiment of that.
Coach Derek started his journey at a very young age. He was part of AAU traveling teams throughout his youth. He was a key component for his High school team and was also a part of the All-Star team. He was recruited by college coaches and ended up Playing for West Hills College in California. He then was recruited to join the basketball team with a scholarship from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. He is married with 2 children named his daughter after Kobe’s daughter. He has coached for over 5 years after first coaching his son’s team, is an AAU certified coach, and has brought home 4 league championships. He has coached countless teams for many organizations and brought home numerous championship trophies.
Kelly Dempsey is a Long Island native who is passionate about giving back to the community through the game of basketball. For the past four years she has been affiliated with the Long Island Nets as a Head Basketball Clinician. She has worked with the Nassau County Police Activity League (NCPAL) for twelve years. In 2013, Coach Kelly started her coaching career with a 7th-8th grade boys’ basketball team at Trinity Lutheran School. In 2015, she became the assistant girls’ varsity basketball coach at Mineola High School. She has also volunteered to coach for the Long Island Luther Basketball League and for the Special Olympics basketball tournament. Coach Kelly has worked professionally with individuals with intellectual disabilities for over 6 years. She holds a BA in Adolescent Education for 7-12 for Social Studies and Special Education, with a minor in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary College. Coach Kelly is currently employed by the Bethpage School District, working in the Special Education Department.
Oscar Pelt is a 31-year-old young man who has been a leader and mentor in his community to so many young boys and girls. Oscar has lived in the Fred Roberts community his entire life. Growing up in a community where gangs and violence were a norm, Oscar was able to fight the enormous amount of pressure to join a gang at the young age of 14. Instead he focused on playing sports at Fred Roberts, and then at his High School. At the age of 17 Oscar was offered a job at Fred Roberts Recreation Center and began his leadership roll within the community. Oscar is a great example of a man who has chose to be a great mentor, coach, college student, employee, and father to his two young children.
Alfredo fell in love with basketball at an early age. Although he was raised in New York, he was a Los Angeles Lakers fan through and through, especially of the late great Kobe Bryant. Growing up, Alfredo saw firsthand the impact sports could have on his life. When Alfredo moved to Los Angeles, he became a Junior Lakers coach at Camp Lakers. Shortly after, Alfredo became the founding athletic director at KIPP Corazon Academy, where he oversees all athletic programming, fundraising efforts and coaching staff. As the athletic director, Alfredo aims to provide his student athletes with as many opportunities as he can to increase their interest and love for sports. Within his community, he serves not only as a coach, but as a leader and mentor. His goal is for his students to be impacted by sports in the same way he was as a kid.
A native of Senegal, Coach Sidy is an alumnus of the SEED Academy, Africa’s first student-athlete basketball academy for high potential youth from underserved areas. Following years of hard work and training, he earned a scholarship to study and play collegiately in the U.S. Then, following graduation and a professional playing stint overseas, the 6’9’’ skilled big man returned to Memphis to fulfill his true passion: teaching the game of basketball to young people. Sidy has since become a staple within Grizzlies Youth Basketball programs, serving as a coach at the team’s camps, clinics, leagues and special events. Coach Sidy also returns to West Africa annually to help encourage and inspire the next generation of African youth. He accomplishes this via volunteerism with Basketball Without Borders, the NBA Africa Academy, and the Seed Project. Furthermore, he has organized multiple fundraisers to benefit orphaned Senegalese youth.
Coach Jason McKay is a native of South Florida, with over 5 years of experience as a certified health and fitness professional. Coach Jason currently serves as an Up2Us Sports coach at Excel Kids Academy, a center that believes that all children have a right to an amazing childhood and high quality education, at Benjamin Franklin K-8 Center, in the hopes of creating a safe haven for children living in the neighborhood of North Miami, in Miami-Dade County, FL.
Coach Preston was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from Mukwonago High School in 2009. He spent two years of college at UW-Stevens Point and three years at Saint Leo University (FL), where he worked as a student assistant for the men’s basketball team each year. Coach Preston graduated from Saint Leo in 2014 with a degree in Sport Business Management and a 3.0 GPA. He is currently completing a certification program to become a licensed Special Education teach in the state of Wisconsin, and just wrapped up his first season as Head JV Boys basketball coach at Mukwonago High School.
Chiené Joy Jones is the first ever Director of Athletics at the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy Charter School Network, a position she has held since Fall, 2014. She began her career working at her alma mater of New York University as the top Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator with the Women’s Basketball Team for four years. She then transitioned into administration, directly supporting the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs across the University’s global sites.Ms. Jones’ roots remain deeply invested in bridging athletic and academic success and has built out a pipeline for scholar-athletes to translate their passion for sports into the classroom. She continues to serve as Promise Academy II’s High School Varsity and 6th Grade Girls Basketball Head Coach, in addition to serving as a community advocate with sports-based youth development programs throughout NYC. This includes her work with the NYC Gauchos/Lady Choz Basketball Program and her own newly formed non-profit, Grow Our Game Inc.,geared on developing young girls through free sports clinics across inner city neighborhoods.
Steve Tamulewicz has been a volunteer coach for the City of Phoenix youth basketball program for nearly 13 years. He loves the game of basketball and in addition to coaching, he is also a sanctioned official for the Arizona Interscholastic Association. Steve is a mentor and role model for countless children in the community. He has helped children grown to love the game because of the philosophies and energy he brings to our program.
Coach James Kennedy started coaching at the YMCA over 20 years ago, volunteering his time to youth during his collegiate years and now has the same joy of coaching his own children through those very same programs. Coach Kennedy coached two teams this winter in the YMCA Thunder Basketball League -a 5U boys team and an 8U girls team. Kennedy developed a love for coaching at an early age by watching his father be present for him and others in the same capacity. Everyone can see Kennedy’s sportsmanship values on full display and admire that he is a role model by displaying what he preaches to his players.
Coach Jonathan Ortiz embodies the ideal youth coach—unwavering commitment, positive message and hard work. He oversees teams and participants at the Meadow Woods Recreation Center. The center hosts the Orlando Magic youth basketball leagues in the fall and winter for boys and girls ages 6-17 of all skill levels. This season, Coach Ortiz led two teams in different age divisions, as well as clinics twice a week. Coach Ortiz is originally from New York City but moved to Central Florida in 2016. He currently attends Universal Technical Institute training to become an automotive technician. He has coached youth sports for five years and also volunteers for Youth Basketball of America. He values success on the court, but truly cherishes the important value off the court, from respect of the game and sportsmanship to teamwork and moral character. Outside of coaching, Coach Ortiz devotes his life to his children and his family. He has two boys, Jordan and Jaxon, with his wife Jennifer.
Eddie Hurtt is a local youth basketball coach and North Philadelphia legend. Having coached for over 33 years, Hurtt has won championships in every league he has coached throughout the tri-state area and beyond. This includes (3) consecutive championships in the Sonny Hill basketball league at every level, future, high school, and college leagues. Hurtt has had retained a USA Basketball Gold Coach License since 2015, been a member of the Jr. NBA Coach coaches circuit, and is currently coaching for the Youth Working Together Basketball League (YWT).
Coach Carrie Cathey and her husband started off coaching their children within our program. After coaching for a few seasons, they became the coaches that children were requesting to have. They coach out of the kindness of their hearts, to make an impact in our youth and they do not even know the extent of the impact they have made in our community. Coach Cathey is an amazing person and we are very lucky to have her coaching in our league.
Danny has been coaching for 6.5 years. He started coaching a 5-6 year old team because he wanted to be more involved with his son’s development. Having never coached prior, Danny learned all he could to make sure he was an impactful leader. That drive and passion would lead him to impacting the lives of other players on the court. The main reason Danny enjoys coaching is to see the growth and success the players have under his direction. He hopes to continue to stay involved coaching youth basketball long after his kids phase out of the program. Danny’s philosophy is to teach the kids through encouragement not punishment.
A 25-year tenured Youth Basketball Coach, Dave Waldrip coaches boys 8-14 with Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District in Beaverton, Oregon. Dave volunteers the majority of his time to working with youth in the coaching space and works as a counselor for behaviorally-challenged students at a local Middle School. Dave approaches coaching with positive growth mindset approach, encouraging his athletes to learn the game, improve skills and respect your teammates, coach, referees and self. Off the court, Dave encourages the student-athletes he works with to cultivate positive relationships off the court and stay focused on their education. Aside from coaching Basketball, Dave also spends his time coaching Baseball and Football as well as volunteering at his Church and the local Boy Scouts of America.
Coach Wilson, with the support of his wife Clytie, has been coaching youth in the North Sacramento areas of Del Paso Heights and Natomas, for the last 20 years. He has impacted the lives of hundreds of today’s youth. He has been the Head Coach at Grant Union High School for the last 10 Years averaging over 20 wins a year while helping over 30 young men achieve their goal of going to college.
Coach Keela Doerue is a 7th-grade math teacher who spends her spare time coaching and running an organization made up of 10 teams and growing. This organization, Phoenix Basketball, has the vision to spread the love of basketball and have children progress in skill and gain knowledge of the game while building relationships and families off the court.
Greg Pharr has developed a life mission to build up local youth and devote time and resources to those who may not have the same tools and opportunities as their peers. He has coached and trained boys and girls in Seattle since 2004. Greg has coached at various levels including development/recreation, competitive/travel AAU, High School, and College. Greg currently serves as a program director and coach for Seattle Wolfpack, a basketball organization that serves over 50 girls. He is also the Athletic Director for Smilow Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, which is a well-known basketball hub in Seattle.
Ryan was born in Sandy, Utah and went to Skyline High School. He swam, played water polo, and graduated in 1995. He attended Utah State University, where he played rugby and water polo and graduated in finance and economics in 2002. He always enjoyed playing team sports and strategizing to maximize an individual’s talents to benefit the team. He never coached until his son’s Jr. Jazz team needed a coach in 2018. His favorite part of coaching is seeing the kids’ attitudes, confidence and abilities change throughout the course of the season. Today, Ryan lives in Millcreek, Utah with his wife, Nanette Heath, and four kids—Hudson (11), Stella (11), Mattie (9) and Jane (7). He works in real estate development with Cottonwood Residential. He’s currently fighting a rare brain tumor and has founded a nonprofit to help those affected by it.
The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance will announce the three finalists for the 2020 national Coach of the Year award on social media on May 26, 2020. The three finalists are selected from the pool of eight semifinalists by a panel of judges, comprised of various individuals from the Jr. NBA Leadership Council, NBA league office, and Positive Coaching Alliance, along with fan voting via social media.
Congratulations to the 2019 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year winner, Coach Jason Curry representing the New York Knicks!
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- 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.
A former D1 gager, Coach Berran has exceled the past decade as a youth basketball coach and administrator in the Eagan (MN) Athletic Association (EAA). She serves the association President managing all in-house and traveling basketball programs for over 1,000 athletes. Coach Berran’s true philosophy includes, that by being on a team you learn not only the sport, but more importantly life skills that you can carry with you forever. Her success is seen through her on court success, and her off-court positive impact is realized through each of her players’ lives. Carrie was nominated by the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2017 Coach of the Year and won the National Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.
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.
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 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. Kash was nominated by the Boston Celtics for the 2018 Coach of the Year and won the National Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.
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.
Jason is in his 20th year as president of Big Apple Basketball (BAB). He’s responsible for all aspects of its daily operations, including running its basketball training, high school showcases, scholarship games, mentoring programs, academic seminars, consultation and referral services, along with other community events focused on helping student-athletes and families. Jason graduated from St. Michael’s College with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball team and inducted into the St. Michael’s College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Last spring, he was inducted into the Cheshire Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2019, Curry was recognized as the Junior Knicks Coach of the Year, and named the National Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.
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.
Chris Moore is CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit organization founded at Stanford University in 1998 with the mission to transform the culture of youth and high school sports to develop Better Athletes, Better People. Chris is a strong advocate for the health and well-being of America’s youth. He has also partnered with the NFL and the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, to spearhead public-private partnerships to raise funds for Fuel Up to Play 60, a powerful youth development platform aimed at encouraging kids to eat healthier and engage in fun, safe play for 60 minutes per day.
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.
Monty Williams enters his first season with the 76ers as an Assistant Coach. He joins Philadelphia after spending two seasons with the Spurs’ front office as Vice President of Basketball Operations. Before spending 2015-16 as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Williams was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015, guiding the Pelicans to two playoff appearances. Prior to his time in New Orleans, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers from 2005-10. In 2013, Williams was named an assistant coach for the 2013-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team and served on the coaching staff of Team USA Men’s National Team that captured gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Originally chosen with the No. 24 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Williams averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 16.7 minutes in 456 career games with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia. At the 2017 NBA Awards, he was named the recipient of the inaugural Sager Strong Award. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, he earned his degree from the school’s College of Arts and Letters, majoring in communications and theatre.