COLUMBIA, S.C.- The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced today the recipients of the 2020-21 NABC Guardians of the Game Pillar Awards, when it was announced that South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin along with Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker, will share the Award for Inclusion for their work with the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative.
The Guardians of the Game Pillar Awards represent the association’s core values of advocacy, education, inclusion, leadership and service. A total of eight NABC member coaches will be honored, including Colorado head Tad Boyle for advocacy; Leonard Hamilton, head coach at Florida State, for education; Michigan associate head coach Phil Martelli for leadership; Saint Francis University head coach Rob Krimmel and Georgia Tech assistant coach Eric Reveno for service, and Martin, Amaker and Calipari for inclusion.
“I am humbled and honored to be presented with this award and to share this moment with two great men like Tommy Amaker and John Calipari,” Martin said. “Serving the coaching profession and elevating other peoples’ lives is a huge mission of mine in my journey in life.”
On June 1, 2020, John Calipari paused his podcast after 20 weeks to help launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative, named for Hall of Fame and ground-breaking coach John McLendon. He recruited Amaker and Martin, both members of the NABC Committee on Racial Reconciliation to join him. His idea was to recruit minority candidates, known as MLI Future Leaders, to be able to jumpstart their careers through practical experiences and opportunities to build their network while instilling the values of John McLendon: Integrity, Education, Leadership and Mentorship.
The initiative has drawn coaches across America to be engaged in the process. Most are men’s basketball coaches, and many have teamed with other coaches in other sports on their campuses to participate. These coaches provide the funding for minority candidates to be employed in athletic administrative positions for one year. Martin, and former Gamecock football coach Will Muschamp , joined forces to fund the 2020-21 scholarship for Carolina’s McLendon scholar, Simone Wark.
This group of eight will receive their awards on Friday, April 2, during the AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show. The show is the finale of the 2021 NABC Convention, being conducted this year on a virtual platform due to the pandemic. The NABC holds it convention each year in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
The show will be broadcast live on Stadium (https://watchstadium.com) beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.