Monday, May 31, 2010

How The Freedmen Started Memorial Day

Like most Americans, my earliest memories of Memorial Day involve cookouts with family and friends.  It's hard to imagine kicking off the summer without something fresh off the grill and old stories.  In fact, some of my favorite childhood memories involve my mother's barbecue mutton and stories created on Memorial Day.

In addition to those American traditions, Memorial Day also reminds me of cemeteries.  I'm not talking about Arlington National Cemetery or any of the countless others dedicated to those who served in our nation's military.  I'm talking about any neighborhood graveyard where members of your family are buried.

In the African-American culture--particularly in the South--Memorial Day is about honoring all of those who have passed, not just those in the military.  So even despite my father serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, our Memorial Day celebrations were more about grandparents and uncles rather than colonels and privates.

Once I was old enough to understand the military aspect behind Memorial Day, I assumed the reason black Americans honored all family members on this holiday was due to the fact that African-Americans--both civilians and enlisted men--suffered so many indignities at the hands of military personnel over the course of hundreds of years.  Thankfully, I didn't allow my ignorance and assumptions to cement such a belief in my mind.  Instead, they led me to research and a proud discovery.

Some might call this a little known Black History fact, but this is straight American history:  Memorial Day was actually started by African-Americans!

Now before you start trying to correct me with Wikipedia links to the holiday established on May 30, 1868 by Civil War General John Logan known as Decoration Day, allow me to share with you another story about honoring our nation's veterans that originates three years earlier.

In Charleston, South Carolina in 1865 Freedmen (freed slaves) celebrated at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park). The site had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers in 1865, as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, Freedmen exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them properly with individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch and declared it a Union graveyard. On May 1, 1865, a crowd of up to ten thousand, mainly black residents, including 2800 children, proceeded to the location for events that included sermons, singing, and a picnic on the grounds, thereby creating the first Decoration Day.

Wow!  Can you think of a better story of anyone honoring and celebrating the lives of American soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country?  If so, I would love to hear it.

The story of the Freedman was first discovered by Yale history professor, David W. Blight.  You can read more about it in Decoration Day: The Origins of Memorial Day in North and South.

During a lecture entitled, To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings as part of his The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 course at Yale, Blight talked about how the story of the Freedman was lost and how he happened upon it.  Here's an excerpt:

"African-Americans invented Memorial Day, in Charleston, South Carolina. There are three or four cities in the United States, North and South, that claim to be the site of the first Memorial Day, but they all claim 1866; they were too late. I had the great, blind, good fortune to discover this story in a messy, totally disorganized collection of veterans’ papers at the Houghton Library at Harvard some years back. And what you have there is black Americans, recently freed from slavery, announcing to the world, with their flowers and their feet and their songs, what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a second American Revolution. That story got lost, it got lost for more than a century. And when I discovered it, I started calling people in Charleston that I knew in archives and libraries, including the Avery Institute, the black research center in Charleston–”Has anybody, have you ever heard of this story?” And no one had ever heard it. It showed the power of the Lost Cause in the wake of the war to erase a story. But I started looking for other sources, and lo and behold there were lots of sources. Harper’s Weekly even had a drawing of the cemetery in an 1867 issue. The old oval of that racetrack is still there today. If you ever go to Charleston go up to Hampton Park. Hampton Park is today what the racecourse was then. It’s named for Wade Hampton, the white supremacist, redeemer, and governor of South Carolina at the end of Reconstruction and a Confederate General during the Civil War. And that park sits immediately adjacent to the Citadel, the Military Academy of Charleston. On any given day you can see at any given time about 100 or 200 Citadel cadets jogging on the track of the old racecourse. There is no marker, there’s no memento, there’s only a little bit of a memory. Although a few years ago a friend of mine in Charleston organized a mock ceremony where we re-enacted that event, including the children’s choir, and they made me dress up in a top hat and a funny old nineteenth century suit and made me get up on a podium and make a stupid speech. But there is an effort, at least today, to declare Hampton Park a National Historic Landmark."

So while we all should give thanks on this Memorial Day--and everyday--to the millions of soldiers who have served this country in the various branches of our military, pardon me while I also honor those who first gave our country the idea for such a holiday.

God Bless America!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

With Morales On The Road To Recovery, What's Next For The Angels?

As the players and coaching staff for the Angels still try to come to grips with the heart-breaking and freakish injury suffered by Kendry Morales Saturday, the organization and the Angels first baseman have both started their respective recoveries.  Who's On First Is A Tough Question For Angels

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Former UCLA & USC Standouts Headline Hall Of Fame Class

When you talk college football here in LA, there's a pretty good chance you will spark an argument, uh I mean, debate regarding UCLA vs. USC.  As successful as both programs have been through the years, you could make the argument that neither would be as good without the other, and that also applies to the coaches and players who have opposed each other over the last several decades.

Thus, it's only fitting that when the College Football Hall of Fame class of 2010 was announced Thursday, it included both a former Bruin and Trojan. Cross, Cunningham Elected To College Football Hall of Fame

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lima Time Was Always a Good Time

It's still somewhat hard to believe that between 1989 and 2004, Jose Lima was the only pitcher to win a playoff game for the Dodgers.  Perhaps, it's even harder still to believe, that Lima passed away over the weekend at the age of 37.

I was in St. Louis with the Angels when the news first broke.  Players and coaches on both sides weren't just surprised.  They were stunned and saddened.

The fiery right-hander was never the best pitcher in the game during his 13 MLB seasons. He would tell you that. But he was also far from the worst. He won 21 games for the Astros in 1999 when he was a National League All-Star and finished fourth in Cy Young Award balloting.
What Lima may have been, however, was the game's best character during his playing days. You would be hard-pressed to find another player of his generation who brought more personality to every game, every start, and every pitch than Lima.

He didn't wear his emotions on his sleeves.  His emotions wore him. Lima Time Was Always a Good Time

NBA's Biggest Man Could Be Heading Out The Door

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scioscia In No Hurry To Make Closer Change

To no one's surprise, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was peppered with questions regarding the team's closer situation Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Brian Fuentes gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk for his second blown save of the season.  Luckily, the Angels were able to pull out the victory in 11 innings, but despite the win, the fans and the media were still screaming for a change at the end of the bullpen.

Fuentes has obviously struggled this season, evidenced by his 7.04 ERA and his three home runs allowed in just 7 2/3 innings.  Those numbers kind of make it hard for fans to remember that Fuentes led the majors with 48 saves last season.  However, last year is last year, and as Janet Jackson once sang, fans want to know "What have you done for me lately?"

It's a good thing for Fuentes that Scioscia is a little more patient than the fans and media.  The Angels manager spent the better part of 20 minutes Tuesday not defending Fuentes, but rather defending his choice to wait a while longer before doing anything drastic: i.e., handing the closer duties over to 8th-inning specialist Fernando Rodney.

"It's a little premature to make wholesale changes," Scioscia said. "If things progress and we feel we'll be stronger making an adjustment, we'll do it, but right now we want this thing to play its way out with (Kevin) Jepsen, (Scot) Shields and Rodney and then Fuentes."

Scioscia has long maintained that the Angels bullpen is at its best if the rotation is laid out the way he describes.  Plus, he thinks the major issue is not whether Fuentes is the closer or the setup man, but rather how he well or poorly he's pitching.  As the Angels manager points out, if Fuentes is struggling in the 9th inning, there's a pretty good chance he would struggle in the 8th inning.  Struggles are struggles, no matter what inning in which you are pitching.

But even with that being said, the fact remains that Rodney has been quite successful in the closer role, both previously and this year with the Angels.  Last season in Detroit, Rodney saved 37 of 38 games.  This year while Fuentes was recovering from a sore back, Rodney was a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities--thus, giving even more fuel to the "Swap Rodney For Fuentes" calls from the critics, but don't expect Scioscia to be easily swayed by the pressure.

"We'll shuffle the deck if we have to, but right now there have been a couple tough appearances from Brian, but we feel we need to have our guys lined up the way they are," Scioscia said. "It's our best look and we want to see if it will keep moving forward."

Until Armed, Dodgers and Angels Unlikely To Be Dangerous

With all the playoff noise the Lakers have been making, I will forgive some of you if you haven't exactly been paying much attention to the 2010 baseball season.  Considering how poorly both the Dodgers and Angels have been playing to start the season, you might be doing yourself a favor.

As of Tuesday, the Dodgers and the Angels are a combined 6 games under .500, with both teams just one step out of the division cellar -- the same divisions both were supposed to win yet again this season.

Despite their close proximity and current common ties (Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher, Garret Anderson, Jeff Weaver, et al), there usually aren't that many similarities between the two teams.  But this year, our two LA-area teams are suffering from the same ailment:  poor pitching. Until Armed, Dodgers and Angels Unlikely To Be Dangerous



--Pacific-10 Conference television partners  Fox Sports Net, ESPN/ABC and Versus will combine to provide extensive coverage of Pac-10 football in 2010.  ESPN and ABC will combine to televise 20 games from Pac-10 sites, while FSN will air 11 games and Versus seven to a national cable audience.  In addition, many non-conference road games involving Pac-10 teams will be aired over various television outlets.  In addition to the Conference television packages, individual schools at times may present games on local over-the-air or cable entities.  Some of the games to be televised are selected prior to the season, others will be selected as the season progresses with picks made either six or 12 days prior to the games.  Following are games involving Pac-10 teams that have been selected for television as of May 11, 2010.  Additional telecast selections will be announced on June 1, 2010.

Day/Date Time (PT) Game TV
Thu., Sep. 2 8:00 p.m. USC at Hawai’i ESPN

Fri., Sep. 3 5:00 p.m. Arizona at Toledo ESPN

Sat., Sep. 4 12:30 p.m. UCLA at Kansas State ABC
4:00 p.m. Washington at BYU CBS College Sports
4:45 p.m. Oregon State vs. TCU ESPN

Sat., Sep. 11 12:30 p.m. Colorado at California FSN
4:00 p.m. Oregon at Tennessee ESPN2
7:30 p.m. Stanford at UCLA ESPN
7:30 p.m. Virginia at USC FSN

Fri., Sep. 17 7:00 p.m. California at Nevada ESPN2

Sat., Sep. 18 12:30 p.m. Nebraska at Washington ABC
12:30 p.m. Arizona State at Wisconsin ABC/ESPN2
12:30 p.m. USC at Minnesota ESPN
12:30 p.m. Washington State at SMU CBS College Sports
7:30 p.m. Iowa at Arizona ESPN
7:30 p.m. Houston at UCLA FSN
8:15 p.m. Wake Forest at Stanford ESPN2

Sat., Sep. 25 12:30 p.m. Stanford at Notre Dame NBC
7:30 p.m. Oregon at Arizona State FSN
TBA Oregon State at Boise State ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

Sat., Oct. 2 5:00 p.m. Washington at USC ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
8:15 p.m. Stanford at Oregon ESPN

Sat., Oct. 9 5:00 p.m. USC at Stanford ABC

Sat., Oct. 16 12:30 p.m. California at USC FSN
7:15 p.m. TBA ESPN

Thu., Oct. 21 6:00 p.m. UCLA at Oregon ESPN

Sat., Oct. 23 12:30 p.m. TBA ABC

Sat., Oct. 30 5:00 p.m. Oregon at USC ABC

Sat., Nov. 6 12:30 p.m. TBA ABC
7:15 p.m. TBA ESPN

Sat., Nov. 13 5:00 p.m. USC at Arizona ABC

Thu., Nov. 18 5:00 p.m. UCLA at Washington ESPN

Sat., Nov. 20 12:30 p.m. Stanford at California FSN
5:00 p.m. USC at Oregon State ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

Fri., Nov. 26 12:30 p.m. UCLA at Arizona State FSN
4:00 p.m. Arizona at Oregon ESPN

Sat., Nov. 27 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame at USC ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

Thu., Dec. 2 5:00 p.m. Arizona State at Arizona ESPN

Sat., Dec. 4 12:30 p.m. TBA ABC


--Seats for the highly-anticipated series will only be available via mini plan or season tickets--

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that due to the velocity of sales of mini plans and season tickets, the games against the defending World Champion New York Yankees will not be available on an individual game basis.

With an overwhelming volume of requests from current season ticket holders, the team will offer a limited number of tickets for the series against the Yankees to those existing season ticket holders, as is customary with Opening Day and the Postseason.

Seven-game mini plans or season seats will be the only way for fans to guarantee tickets to the Yankees series at Dodger Stadium on June 25-27.

The mini plan starts as low as $9 per seat for a ticket to seven different home games on the Top Deck. For seven games in the All-You-Can-Eat Right Field pavilion, the mini plan costs just $28 per game. Mini-plans are available on the Reserved Level starting at $12, Loge Level for $40 and Field Level starting at $45 per game. Fans can save as much as 30 percent through the purchase of a seven-game mini plan.

In addition, fans can secure tickets to two of the three Yankee games by purchasing a 21-game plan for as little as $9 per seat. Season tickets for all remaining home games start as low as $8 per seat.

Mini plans can be purchased by visiting or by calling 866.DODGERS.

Friday, May 7, 2010


WHAT:  Angels Manager Mike Scioscia is reaching out to children in the community to
teach them the proper fundamentals of the game of baseball.

Scioscia and the Amateur Baseball Development Group (ABDG) will host the Mike Scioscia/Howard’s Youth Baseball Clinic presented by Howard’s Appliance & Flat Screen Superstores on Saturday, May 15th at Angel Stadium.

This event will be a lecture type format with an autograph session to follow.

The clinic is free and open to the public, with a focus on children ages 5-14.

WHEN:     Saturday, May 15th from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. with registration starting at 8:30 AM at Gate 1. Participants are encouraged to arrive early, and bring a maximum of two (2) Angels items for an autograph session at the conclusion of the clinic. No baseball equipment will be needed for the clinic.

WHERE:  Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Enter through Gate # 1
2000 Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806

WHO:      Angels Manager Mike Scioscia along with select Angel players, coaches and

***For more information on the Amateur Baseball Development Group, please visit their
website at:***


Torii Hunter Project Sponsors Little League's Jamborees

--Little League’s Urban Initiative State Jamborees Begin with Event in Atlanta--

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – In an effort to give more children and more leagues the opportunity to participate in a tournament setting, Little League’s Urban Initiative will hold jamborees in four locations this summer.  Events will be held in Atlanta, Ga.; Houston; Chicago; and, Newark, N.J.

“Beginning in 2004, local leagues participating in the Little League Urban Initiative were invited to the annual Jamboree held on the Little League International complex,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said.  “Those events were successful and beneficial for the leagues involved.  The primary goals of taking the Jamboree to the state level are to increase the number of children from Urban Initiative Little Leagues that get to participate in a ‘tournament style’ event, and to better serve Urban Initiative leagues on a state-wide basis by giving local league members, coaches and players a greater chance to network and share ideas.”

The Little League Urban Initiative was established in 1999 to provide opportunities for communities in metropolitan areas to reap the benefits of having Little League in their neighborhoods.

The first Urban Initiative State Jamboree will take place in Atlanta, May 28-31.  There will be more than 150 players participating comprising 11 teams.  Belvedere Little League, based in Decatur, Ga., will serve as the host for the weekend-long event and activities.  All Jamboree games will be played at Shoal Creek Park in Decatur.  Urban Initiative leagues from the state of Georgia and South Carolina will compete in the Jamboree.

The state-based jamborees in the four locations this summer are sponsored by the Torii Hunter Project.  The all-star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, founded the organization as part of a comprehensive, long-term effort to impact children in need in various parts of the United States.  Now in his 14th Major League season, Mr. Hunter’s project has four areas of focus related to children: sports, community, education, and wellness.

The Jamboree in Houston will take place June 3-5, with teams from across Texas participating.  Chicago’s Jamboree will welcome Urban Initiative Leagues from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana for an event scheduled for June 11-13.  The same weekend as the Jamboree in Chicago, a Jamboree in Newark, N.J. will take place with teams from across New Jersey and one team from Philadelphia expected to participate.

“The motivation behind extending the Jamboree concept to the state level was a matter of opportunity,” Mr. Ervin said.  “Bringing teams to South Williamsport, giving them a chance to play on the World Series fields, and exposing them to Little League’s history and origin are all great, but we want to take the next step.  The next step is recognizing those leagues that have embraced the Urban Initiative mission and allow them to show what a local league can do with the proper mix of resources, support and community involvement.”

The Jamborees in Chicago and Newark will feature a clinic for the participating players conducted by The Baseball Factory.

The four jamborees this summer will take the place of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree that Little League International hosted Memorial Day weekend.  During the six years the Jamboree was played at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., teams from 66 different Urban Initiative leagues and more than 800 players participated.

The Little League Urban Initiative is now operating with more than 200 leagues in nearly 85 cities in the United States.  Through the 2009 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 3,901 teams and approximately 51,000 players.  The Urban Initiative has also participated in nearly thirty field renovation/development projects, including a current project in Richmond, Va.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.6 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Former Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen to receive Dick Enberg Award at CoSIDA Convention

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Former Pacific-10 (Pac-10) Conference Commissioner Tom Hansen has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Dick Enberg Award and will receive the award at the College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA) workshop in San Francisco, California.
The presentation will be on evening of July 6th as part of CoSIDA Hall of Fame Gala celebration which will honor both the CoSIDA Hall of Fame Class of 2010 and the Academic All-America Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

Hansen, who was the Commissioner of the Pac-10 for 26 years, will be the 14th individual to be honored since the award’s inception in 1997.

The Dick Enberg Award is annually presented to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America® Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics.

The award was created to recognize Dick Enberg’s passion and support of the Academic All-America® program for more than 20 years, as well as his dedication to education for more than four decades.

“I'm sincerely pleased and honored that Tom Hansen has accepted the 2010 Enberg Award. Tom has long served as an unassuming, but strong leader, one who has continually pursued excellence in academics and athletics” Enberg says. “His dedication to the Academic All-America program has brought a national focus on what we admire most about the student-athlete.”

“Tom Hansen’s long and distinguished career in college athletics has positively influenced a wide variety of people, none more so than the many student-athletes whose experiences he made better through his leadership,” says Justin Doherty of the University of Wisconsin, the 2009-10 CoSIDA president. “The list of past Dick Enberg Award winners reads like a ‘who’s who’ of college athletics and Tom Hansen’s name certainly adds to the prestige of that select group.”

In addition to his tenure as Commissioner, Hansen served seven years, 1960-67, as Director of Public Relations for the Pac-10, giving him a total of 33 years of service to the Conference. He was a member of the NCAA staff for 16 years in between his two stints with the Pac-10. Hansen was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame earlier this year.

"Selection for the award bearing the name of Dick Enberg, a very special person and avid supporter of the best values of college athletics, is a unique honor, as is my association in this manner with the past winners,” Hansen remarks. “Each of them was dedicated to the student-athlete and to encouraging them to take advantage of the academic opportunities their athletic participation made possible.

"College athletics is an important element of the university, for its students, alumni and friends, but it must maintain an appropriate relationship to the institution's academic mission. The Enberg Award reminds us of the primacy of education in that mission and salutes the academic achievements of student-athletes. I am honored to be recognized for my efforts toward those goals during my career."

The Pac-10 Conference enjoyed unparalleled success during Hansen’s tenure as conference teams won 204 NCAA championships during his years as Commissioner, a total surpassing any other conference by a wide margin. Accomplishments off the field have been equally impressive. Among the developments since Hansen assumed the commissioner position were the inauguration of the Pac-10’s nationally prominent women’s sports programs, dramatic expansion of the Conference football and basketball television programs, a prominent role in the development of the Bowl Championship Series and establishment of a strong lineup of bowl partners.

Long active in NCAA affairs, Hansen chaired and served on numerous NCAA committees, including the NCAA Oversight and Monitoring Group, the Division I Task Force on Recruiting, the Governance Subcommittee, the Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee, the Gender Equity Task Force, the Amateurism Clearinghouse Advisory Group and the Nominating and Special Events Committee, among others. He also has served as President of NCAA Football and the Collegiate Commissioners Association and been on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, and served on that organization’s national Honor’s Court.

Among the honors bestowed on Hansen during his tenure at the Pac-10 were the NACDA Award for Administrative Excellence, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award, and the Foundation’s Northern California Chapter Distinguished American Award.

While at the NCAA, where he was an assistant executive director, among primary assignments were administration for the football television program, the Men’s Basketball Championship and the Committee on Women’s Athletics. He also represented the NCAA in Washington, D.C.

1997: Dick Enberg
1998: John Humenik
1999: Dean Smith
2000: Bill Russell
2001: Donna Shalala
2002: Alan Page
2003: Tom Osborne
2004: Ted Leland
2005: Father Theodore Hesburgh
2006: President Gerald R. Ford
2007: Pat Summitt
2008: Chuck Lee
2009: Steve Smith
2010: Tom Hansen

Clippers Are Best Choice for LeBron

Coming into this NBA season, the most asked question by fans, media, players, coaches and front office executives was, "Where will LeBron play next year?"  Basically, everybody associated with the game wanted to know where the league's reigning MVP would take his skills for the second part of his career.  And as we continue dwindling down teams through the playoffs, that question still doesn't seem to have a definitive answer.

Despite some of the things I have heard in regards to LeBron's decision-making process, I'm not about to act like I know what he will do at season's end.  However, I do believe I know where LeBron SHOULD play next year, if indeed, he decides to leave his hometown team. Clippers Are Best Choice for LeBron

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coach John Calipari Teams up with Mike Gottfried and Team Focus to Bring Mentoring Program to Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari and former college football college and TV analyst Mike Gottfried today announced Calipari’s commitment to Gottfried’s decade-old Team Focus Program. A comprehensive, year-round community and outreach program started by Gottfried and his wife, Mickey, in 2000, Team Focus provides fatherless young men (ages 10 – 18) with life skills and a mentor relationship.

“This is something Coach Gottfried and I have been talking about for quite a while now and we’re excited to kick off what I know will be an important link between the Calipari Family Foundation for Children and thousands of young men throughout the Commonwealth,” Coach Calipari said. “Ellen and I are constantly looking for alliances that serve our mission of helping underprivileged children in both Kentucky and Memphis.”

With the CFFC’s initial pledge of $50,000 to Team Focus, Coach Gottfried and Coach Calipari will launch a Team Focus Chapter immediately here in Lexington to begin locating deserving young men right away and sending them to a leadership camp this summer. A local camp will begin in the summer of 2011 (details to follow later this year). The CFFC has made an initial five-year commitment.

“Growing up without a father around and knowing what it feels like, I have a desire to provide a place for young men from everywhere to come and be encouraged, motivated, and challenged,” said coach Gottfried, whose Lexington-area ties go back to his head coaching days at both Murray State (1978-80) and the University of Cincinnati (1981-82). “When my father died on April 3, 1956, my whole life changed. We were three boys and a mother looking at each other after the funeral and wondering where we go from here.”

In a multi-state effort to help boys going through similar uncertainty, Team Focus conducts annual, cost-free camps, events, and social media outreach (a tool called FocusBook, similar to Facebook) that pairs young men without a father figure with volunteers willing to share time, guidance and an open resource for the young men they mentor.

The first “Camp Focus” was held in Mobile, AL in the summer of 2000. Along with athletic values, young men selected for camp were exposed to a variety of social, educational, and spiritual skills intended to help them as they advance through school and life. Today, 5-day summer leadership camps are held in Texas, Alabama, Washington D.C., Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, California and beginning in 2011, Kentucky.

For more information on Team Focus, visit:

For more information on the Calipari Family Foundation for Children, visit:

*Please be on the look out for a special announcement from Memphis’s Streets Ministries on an initiative Coach Calipari will soon be taking part in.