INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2023) – The Horizon League announced on Wednesday the third annual Coach John McLendon Celebration will take place Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12. The celebration will be held in conjunction with the Northern Kentucky at Wright State men’s basketball game scheduled to be televised at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU on Friday, Feb. 10, with additional coverage on all of the League’s digital broadcasts throughout the weekend.
The Horizon League has honored former Cleveland State University head men’s basketball coach John McLendon each of the past two seasons. McLendon was hired by Cleveland State in 1966, becoming the first African American head coach at a predominately white institution. He led the Vikings for three seasons. In January 2021, McLendon was posthumously selected as the Theodore Roosevelt Award honoree, the highest distinction the NCAA awards. The award is named after former President Theodore Roosevelt, whose concern for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics led to the establishment of the NCAA in 1906.
“We are excited to continue to honor Coach John McLendon’s legacy with our third annual celebration. This initiative was launched by our #OneHL student-athlete group and been embraced across the League, which reminds us of the transformative and unifying potential of collegiate athletics,” remarked Commissioner Julie Roe Lach. “The League office has partnered with the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative on our first fellowship this year and we are proud to not only continue but expand this annual celebration in 2023.”
McLendon is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor and later as a coach. He attended the University of Kansas where he learned under the legendary Dr. James Naismith. McLendon has been recognized due to his lifetime of work pioneering and innovating college basketball.
John McLendon was a forerunner of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond the realm of college athletics. He inspired his successors to continue his legacy through the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative (MLI), whose stated goal is to 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.
Leading up to the official start of the Celebration on Feb. 10, the Horizon League will be highlighting McLendon’s influence on the game of basketball and society along with the impact of the McLendon Foundation on its website and social media platforms through videos, interviews and graphics in addition to the ESPNU national television broadcast and ESPN+ productions.
Prior to his time at Cleveland State, McLendon was named the head coach of Cleveland’s professional basketball team, the Cleveland Pipers of the National Industrial Basketball League (NIBL) in 1959, making him the first African American head coach in the modern era of professional sports.
For complete coverage of the Coach John McLendon Celebration visit HorizonLeague.com, follow @HorizonLeague, the hashtags #McLendonCelebration and #OneHL on social media and tune into all the action on ESPNU and ESPN+.
Credit: Source link