Coach Cal to partner with McLendon Foundation to launch 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.

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Coach Cal at the Game

CLEVELAND; July 13, 2020 – University of Kentucky Head Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari, along with Harvard Head Coach Tommy Amaker, 35 other collegiate head coaches and the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation (“McLendon Foundation”) today announced a partnership to help 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 McLendonhere.

 

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Coach Calipari, as a leading ambassador for the MLI, is funding five MLI Future Leaders each year for six years, and the University of Kentucky Athletics Department plans to be a part of the MLI starting with the 2020-21 athletics season.

 

“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.”

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.

 

To augment his support of the McLendon Leadership Initiative, Calipari is also seeking matching funds from private donors, corporate supporters, and other partners to support other universities that wish to participate in the program.

 

“I am pleased that the University of Kentucky Athletics Department has joined me in the initiative, and I hope that other college coaches and schools will join in this great cause,” Calipari said. “College athletics will be the focus of the MLI, but if the initiative can make a broader impact across all levels of athletics and in other industries to help build a path of opportunity for our minority leaders of tomorrow, I’m all for that.”

 

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 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.

 

About the Calipari Foundation
In 2012, John and Ellen Calipari formed the Calipari Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to provide for the physical, educational, leadership and developmental needs of people and communities, while encouraging and equipping others to do the same.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com