Kentucky head coach John Calipari is stepping up to help minorities looking to move up in the world of college athletics.
On Monday, Calipari and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker announced they were working with the John McLendon Foundation to launch the Minority Leadership Initiative. This will provide minorities with practical experiences in college athletics, as well as opportunities to build their network and move up in this field.
“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.”
Calipari and Amaker are among over 35 college coaches who are working with this initiative.
This is something Calipari has been working on for over a month now, as he previously hinted at a similar plan within UK Athletics.
In June, Calipari revealed his plan to launch an executive development program for minorities in the athletics department at UK.
“I want leaders in this thing, minority leaders to come in and say, ‘Look, I want this opportunity,’” Calipari stated. “I look at this and say, our athletic departments need to start looking different so that coaches can start looking different, so ADs (athletic directors) can start looking different. Maybe the Board of Trustees starts looking different, those presidents start looking different, which changes the whole dynamic of what we are dealing with.
“Creating access and opportunity. Creating hope. That you have a chance if you work and you do your thing, there are things out there for you. I want to start, and I proposed this to our school, an internship program, an executive development program for minorities in athletics.”
The McLendon Foundation is named after former basketball coach John McLendon, who became the first African American coach to win an integrated national championship. You can read more about his life and impact on the sport here.
More information regarding the MLI can be found at MinorityLeaders.org.