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USG Event Recap: NABC Convention 2024


Group photo of the USG members in attendance for this year's NABC Convention.

This past week, Uncommon Sports Group hosted a group of ten members at the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) in Phoenix, AZ, alongside the men’s college basketball Final Four weekend. Each of the USG members who attended is presently working or desiring to work as a college basketball coach. Because of the many faithful Clean Out For A Cause® donors, USG was able to provide funding for the travel and lodging expenses of each member who attended the convention.


The NABC Convention was held in downtown Phoenix at the Phoenix Convention Center from April 4th to April 8th. The convention offers aspiring and present college basketball coaches opportunities to expand their knowledge of the game, develop their skills as coaches, and network with coaches from across the country.


The convention kicked off on Thursday, April 4th. Uncommon Sports Group partnered with Athletes in Action (AIA) to share a booth in the exhibitor’s area of the convention. USG staff members Noah Weiss and Michael Carpenter were stationed at the booth to share about USG with prospective members and to steward relationships with present members and friends of the ministry.


Photo of USG's booth setup at the NABC Convention.

On Friday, April 5th, Uncommon Sports Group had the opportunity to host a ministry event in the convention center titled NXT Up Coaches: Equipping the Next Generations of Christ-Centered Coaches. This was the first time that USG hosted a ministry event during the NABC Convention and Final Four weekend.


The panel featured four Christ-centered and experienced college basketball coaches: Leonard Hamilton, Head Coach at Florida State University; Jayson Gee, Associate Head Coach at Coastal Carolina University; Chris Flegler, Director of Basketball Operations at St. Joseph’s University; and Chelsea Mangino, Chief of Staff at Liberty University.


Photo of the panelists during the NXT Up Coaches event in the convention center.

The panel was hosted by Jason Romano, the Director of Media at Sports Spectrum. The discussion centered on “living on mission as a coach with an eternal mindset.” The panelists challenged, equipped, and encouraged those who attended to make their career in coaching a ministry for Christ and to coach with an eternal purpose, as opposed to the common pattern of coaching with a temporal purpose.


USG's group attended the Athletes in Action (AIA) John Wooden Keys to Life breakfast on Saturday, April 6th. AIA presents the Coach John Wooden “Keys to Life” Award each year at this breakfast. The Coach Wooden “Keys to Life” Award is presented to a player or coach who best exemplifies character, leadership, and faith in the home, on the court, and throughout the community. This year's recipient was former NBA head coach Lionel Hollins. The breakfast also provides a space for Christ-centered coaches within the college basketball space to be vocal about their faith. At the end of the breakfast, Grand Canyon University’s head basketball coach, Bryce Drew, shared the gospel message with those in attendance.


Some other highlights from the week in Phoenix included the devotional time through the book of James that provided a space for our members to intentionally study God’s word together and be challenged in their personal walks with Christ.


The group also had an opportunity to connect with one another during our Camelback mountain hike on Sunday, April 7th. Finally, the week wrapped up on Monday, April 8th, with a group service project at Feed My Starving Children in Mesa, AZ.


Group photo of the USG members at Feed My Starving Children.

As each attendee heads back to their respective locations, they are equipped and encouraged to be lights for Christ in their roles as coaches, graduate assistants, and student managers. We are excited to see these young men and USG members continue to be Christ-centered leaders within the college basketball world!


 

If you want to have an experience like this one and join USG’s community of Christians working in college and pro sports, tap this link to learn how to get involved.


If you want to learn more about our organization, contact a staff member here!

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