Pentagon Taps UConn Coaches for Leadership Advice

Men's basketball head coach Kevin Ollie, left, and women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma engage in a friendly exchange at First Night in Gampel Pavilion in October 2013. (Steve Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)

UConn’s duo of 2014 NCAA national champion basketball coaches, women’s coach Geno Auriemma and men’s coach Kevin Ollie, will join a renowned group of USA Basketball coaches on a visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday, May 7, for a strategy seminar with military officials and a panel discussion on leadership for more than 400 service members.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, in collaboration with USA Basketball, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the NBA Cares Hoops for Troops program, will host seven coaches from the USA Basketball Men’s and Women’s National teams and NCAA collegiate teams.

The panel discussion, to be held in the Pentagon Auditorium, will be televised on The Pentagon Channel and webcast at www.pentagonchannel.mil/livestream.aspx starting at 1:30 p.m. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will moderate the discussion.

“These preeminent coaches lead their own world-class teams in USA Basketball and the NCAA,” said Dempsey. “We’ll discuss the importance of dynamic leadership to building winning teams, and also expose these coaches to what our world-class military team brings to the nation.”

The panel will discuss topics including how to motivate and inspire people towards pursuit of a common goal; how to mentor young adults for a lifetime of positive contributions; how to recruit and retain the best talent; and how to better integrate a diverse group of people.

The strategy seminar with Gen. Dempsey and the coaches provides a venue for the USA Basketball coaches and military leadership to talk about shared values, common themes, and applicable lessons learned during their professional careers.

In addition to Auriemma, who is also the head coach for the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, and Ollie, the coaches include: Jim Boeheim, assistant coach for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team and head coach of Syracuse University men’s basketball; Jamie Dixon, head coach of University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball; Tom Izzo, head coach of Michigan State University men’s basketball; Tubby Smith, head coach of Texas Tech University men’s basketball; and Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova University men’s basketball.

The two events are part of an expanding relationship between USA Basketball, the NBA, and the Department of Defense.

“These are two great institutions – America’s premier sports teams and our military – that are the best in the world at what they do,” Dempsey said. “I’m excited about collaborating with the NBA and USA Basketball to serve the communities in which we live and work, and to improve our game.”