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Pac-12 Men's Basketball coaches pledge united support of McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative

Jul 13, 2020
McLendon MLI

SAN FRANCISCO – In coordination with Monday’s national launch by the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation, every head men’s basketball coach from the Pac-12 Conference has pledged his support to participate in the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative.

The dozen coaches from the Pac-12 join a contingent of their colleagues across the country – led by Kentucky’s John Calipari and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker – in establishing the Minority Leadership Initiative, which will provide minorities a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their network, and instilling the values of John McLendon: Integrity, Education, Leadership, and Mentorship. Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders. Learn more about John McLendon here.

Each of the league’s 12 head coaches have pledged a four-year commitment to provide funding to the MLI program, which will establish athletics administration educational experiences for minority candidates on each Pac-12 campus. The coaches will act as liaison with the McLendon Foundation and serve as ambassadors and mentors to the MLI Future Leaders. The Conference’s Athletic Directors unanimously approved the men’s basketball coaches’ recommendation to create the opportunities within their administrations last week.

“In order to advance diversity in sports, it is important we develop minority administrators and leaders who will go on to hire the next generation of college coaches. We are only a small part of what we all hope will become a larger initiative. The Pac-12 coaches are excited to be involved with the McLendon Foundation and to become part of the solution,” said Oregon’s Dana Altman on behalf of the Conference’s head coaches.

Earlier this month the Pac-12 Conference announced its initial steps to promote social justice and combat racism which includes plans to support member and department initiatives to further the movement.

“I am proud of our head men’s basketball coaches for collectively supporting the McLendon Foundation and taking action to effectuate social change within our membership”, said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “As our league continues its efforts to promote social justice and anti-racism, it is critical to foster and cultivate meaningful opportunities to develop minority leadership and influence organizational change not only within our athletic departments, but across the sports industry.”

The full press release from the McLendon Foundation is below:

MCLENDON FOUNDATION LAUNCHES MINORITY LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

CLEVELAND; July 13, 2020 – The John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation (“McLendon Foundation”) today announced a partnership with more than 35 collegiate coaches to launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative (“Minority Leadership Initiative,” or “MLI”). This coach-driven initiative will provide minorities a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their network, and instilling the values of John McLendon: Integrity, Education, Leadership, and Mentorship. Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders. Learn more about John McLendon here.

 “The MLI is about access and opportunity: real-world experience and networking platforms designed to elevate talented young women and men of color who have previously been ignored by a system that lacks diversity and inclusion. For this work, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate vehicle than the McLendon Foundation. I’m excited about where we’re headed and feel this is a great first step toward affecting measurable change in our corner of the world,” said John Calipari, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Kentucky.

“It is a true honor to serve as an ambassador for the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative under the umbrella of the John McLendon Foundation,” said Tommy Amaker, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Harvard University. “Coach McLendon’s name is synonymous with education, teaching, service, excellence, and leadership. I am incredibly proud to be associated with his name through this initiative. I cannot think of a better way to honor Coach McLendon’s legacy than by providing young minority women and men with a pathway into athletics administration. Through this program, we will make significant progress in increasing diversity in athletics departments throughout the country and will support many more people of color in pursuing their passion.”

“The McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative is a huge step in the right direction for enhancing the pipeline within our industry,” said Andrea Williams, Chief Operating Officer at the College Football Playoff (CFP) and McLendon Foundation President. “There are many qualified minority individuals who are prepared to make their mark and begin their careers in college athletics, and this program, jumpstarted by Coach Calipari, is a great foundation to build on.”

The McLendon Foundation, along with G3 Marketing and ProLink Staffing Services, will be assisting in the solicitation of collegiate coaches, administrators, and corporations to build this program and provide opportunities within athletics departments at all levels, with the ultimate goal of expanding and enhancing the pipeline for minorities interested in pursuing careers in athletics administration. As an added benefit, the Joel Cornette Foundation will assist the Future Leaders with corporate mentorship, development, and job placement.

More information regarding the MLI, including a pre-application for interested and qualified individuals, can be found at MinorityLeaders.org. In conjunction with this announcement, the McLendon Foundation is unveiling a newly designed website to showcase the efforts of the Foundation, highlighted by its mission to empower and develop minorities who aspire to be principled leaders in athletics administration by providing educational resources and access to a life-long community of mentors.

About the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation

The John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded and administered aby NACDA that provides educational opportunities and serves as a vehicle for networking, information and advocacy on behalf of the profession. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded 123 students with scholarships in the amount of $1,245,000.