KU Coach Bill Self to be a Part of McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative
CLEVELAND – Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self is among more than 35 college basketball head coaches who recently announced a partnership to help launch the McLendon 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 KU graduate and coaching legend John McLendon: Integrity, Education, Leadership, and Mentorship. Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders. Co-Charis of the initiative are Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. Learn more about John McLendon here.
“I’m all in,” Self said. “I’m proud to help launch the McLendon Foundation Minority Leadership Initiative and help provide access and opportunity to deserving minority candidates as Future Leaders.”
The McLendon Foundation 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.
“It was really important for me to take a step back these past few weeks and listen. Now it’s time to take action,” Calipari said. “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.”
“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.”
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 unveiled 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.
After becoming the first African-American to graduate from KU with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1936, McLendon turned to coaching. Mentored by Dr. James Naismith, who insisted basketball should be played as a fast break pace, offensively and defensively, McLendon began his 14-year career at North Carolina College in 1938, then later coached at Hampton (Virginia) Institute and Tennessee A&I. While head coach there, his teams won three-consecutive NAIA national titles (1957-59). He also coached at Kentucky State, Cleveland State, the National Industrial League and professionally with Cleveland (ABL) and Denver (ABA). He retired in 1969 with a 25-year college mark of 523-165 (.760). McLendon was the first African-American college coach elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. In 2016, McLendon was inducted for the second time being recognized as the first African-American coach in a professional league.
About the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation
The John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded and administered by 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.