CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia men’s basketball head coach Tony Bennett is helping start the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative, with a goal of providing minorities a jump-start to their careers.
There are 35 college coaches involved in the partnership with the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation.
John McLendon was the first Black head coach of a predominantly white university (Cleveland State 1967-69), as well as the first Black head coach in any sport at the professional level, when he coached the ABL’s Cleveland Pipers (1959-62).
He is enshrined in both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
UVA Athletics Media Release:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia’s Dean and Markel Families Men’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Bennett and his wife, Laurel, along with 35 other collegiate head coaches, and the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation today announced a partnership to help launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative.
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.
As an ambassador for the MLI, the Bennett’s are funding a MLI Future Leader and the Virginia athletics department plans to be a part of the MLI starting with the 2020-21 athletics season.
“There are so many well qualified minorities that are very deserving of this opportunity,” Bennett said. “My wife and I are honored to be a part of this initiative”
“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 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 Kentucky coach (John) 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.
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.