As we wait for Natalie Butler, the daughter of former Navy basketball star Vernon Butler [think the David Robinson era] to decide if she wants to transfer to UConn, consider how well regarded Geno Auriemma is at the Pentagon. If the SEC only knew.
Auriemma and Kevin Ollie, the nation’s collegiate national champion basketball coaches, will be among a group of USA Basketball coaches to visit the Pentagon Wednesday for a strategy seminar with military officials and conduct a panel discussion on leadership for more than 400 service members.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, with whom Auriemma has struck up a wonderful relationship over the years, in collaboration with USA Basketball, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and their NBA Cares Hoops for Troops program, will host a group of seven coaches, which features six with extensive USA Basketball coaching experiences, will also participate in a leadership panel discussion in the Pentagon Auditorium.
Good news. The panel discussion will not be on ESPN3. It will be televised on The Pentagon Channel and webcast at www.pentagonchannel.mil/livestream.aspx starting at 1:30 p.m.
“These preeminent coaches lead their own world-class teams in USA Basketball and the NCAA,” said Dempsey. “We’ll discuss the importance of dynamic leadership to building winning teams and also expose these coaches to what our world-class military team brings to the nation.”
In addition to Auriemma and Ollie, Jim Boeheim, assistant coach for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team and head coach of Syracuse University men’s basketball, Jamie Dixon, head coach of University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball, Tom Izzo, head coach of Michigan State University men’s basketball, Tubby Smith, head coach of Texas Tech University men’s basketball, and Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova University men’s basketball. Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst, will moderate the panel discussion.
“I’d like to thank General Dempsey and his staff for this incredible opportunity. We’re delighted to contribute back to the military community in any way we can,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “USA Basketball is also extremely proud and very appreciative that these seven great coaches will again give back to their country. It’s an honor to have them continue to represent USA Basketball, the NCAA, as well as their respective universities in such a positive and valuable manner. I’m sure this will be a great learning experience for everyone.”
The open panel discussion will focus on challenges facing championship-level teams and the U.S. military. Among the topics will be how to motivate and inspire people towards pursuit of a common goal, how to mentor young adults for a lifetime of positive contributions, how to recruit and retain the best talent, and how to better integrate a diverse group of people.
The strategy seminar with Gen. Dempsey and the coaches provides a venue for the USA Basketball coaches and military leadership to talk about shared values, common themes, and applicable lessons learned over long and successful professional careers.