Louisiana college basketball coaches unite to fight COVID-19
Inspired by the unprecedented show of unity among New York, New Jersey and New England’s college basketball community, 25 NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA college basketball head coaches in Louisiana have united to form TEAM LOUISIANA. As part of the team, the coaches will use their social media platforms to communicate public health guidelines with their audiences in an effort to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Fans can follow the #TEAMLOUISIANA hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The head coaches represent 25 colleges across NCAA Divisions I and III, NAIA and NJCAA. After seeing the success of the Northeast teams, Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches Executive Secretary Scott Landry, in coordination with NY Rens Founder Dan Klores, Executive Director Andy Borman and Syracuse Graduate Assistant Ben Horwitz, quickly organized TEAM LOUISIANA, bringing together traditional on-court rivals in a display of teamwork against a common opponent.
“When we saw the devastating effect COVID-19 is having on Louisiana, it became personal to me,” Klores said. “Ben Jobe, the legendary former coach and teacher at Southern was a father figure to me. I dedicated my last film, “Basketball: A Love Story,” to him. So I called Dale Brown and he introduced me to Scott Landry, who didn’t blink at getting involved. When you talk about men like Ben and Dale, you talk about humanity.”
The head coaches represent all 12 NCAA Division Ischools in Louisiana and include LSU’s Will Wade, Tulane’s Ron Hunter and Grambling State’s Donte’ Jackson. The schools in Louisiana represent the Southeastern, American Athletic, Sun Belt, Southwestern Athletic and Southland conferences and Conference USA, among others.
“When we saw the impact of the Northeast teams, we quickly realized what a great opportunity the Louisiana basketball community had to do its part and make a difference in slowing the spread of the virus in our region,” said Landry. “As one of the hardest-hit states, it’s critical that we all chip in and help keep our friends, family and neighbors safe and healthy. We’re proud to join the quickly growing movement and encouraged to see the basketball families in each community putting aside on-court rivalries for the greater good.”
“This is a necessary and extraordinary team. The African-American community has been hit by this virus in a disproportionate way in our state. So we are glad to do whatever we can do to help assist our youth, fans, students, alumni, and anyone else during this critical time,” said Grambling head coach Donte’ Jackson.
“Though we’re rivals on the court, the Louisiana basketball community is a family and we look out for each other and our neighbors,” LSU head coach Will Wade said. “Coaches are mentors and teachers and it’s our duty to help make a difference any way we can.”
TEAM LOUISIANA joins a growing coalition of college basketball coaches coming together to influence their communities to take recommended public health actions. The coalition has been organized by Borman, executive director of the RENS, an AAU organization in New York, and Horwitz, who both recognized the unique impact college basketball coaches can have in communicating critical information to their followers, teams, students, fans, teachers, friends and alumni, during these unprecedented times.
“We started this movement in New York because we wanted to help and we knew how much impact basketball coaches have on their fans and young athletes, who may otherwise feel invincible to the virus,” said Borman. “In addition to helping slow the spread in New York, we wanted to inspire basketball families in other states to take up the mantle in their communities. We’re overwhelmed with the quick and enthusiastic support from Louisiana, New Jersey and New England and we look forward to bringing together more states.”
The full list of TEAM LOUISIANA coaches and their affiliations includes:
TEAM LOUISIANA ROSTER
· Baton Rouge Community College – Donald Green
· Bossier Parish Community College – J.A. Anglin
· Centenary – Chris Dorsey
· Delgado Community College – Clifford Barthe’
· Dillard – Mike Newell
· Grambling State – Donte’ Jackson
· Louisiana College – Reni Mason
· Louisiana Tech – Eric Konkol
· Louisiana-Lafayette – Bob Marlin
· Louisiana-Monroe – Keith Richard
· Loyola (New Orleans) – Stacy Hollowell
· LSU – Will Wade
· LSU-Alexandria – Larry Cordaro
· LSU-Eunice – Byron Starks
· LSU-Shreveport – Kyle Blankenship
· McNeese State – Heath Schroyer
· New Orleans – Mark Slessinger
· Nicholls State – Austin Claunch
· Northwestern State – Mike McConathy
· Southeastern Louisiana – David Kiefer
· Southern – Sean Woods
· Southern-New Orleans – Brian Gibson
· Southern-Shreveport – David Francis
· Tulane – Ron Hunter
· Xavier (Louisiana) – Alfred Williams
The simple message points to be stressed on the social media platforms of all 25 TEAM LOUISIANA coaches are:
Practice social distancing and avoid crowds:
○ Stay home as much as possible to help flatten the curve. If you must go out, avoid crowds and keep at least six feet of distance from others.
Wash your hands and cover your cough:
○ Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. Sneeze and cough into a tissue or the corner of your arm.
Don’t touch your face:
○ Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Look out for neighbors at-risk:
○ Avoid visiting those at risk and offer help in getting groceries and goods in a socially distant manner.
Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects:
○ Using soap and water, a bleach and water solution or EPA-approved household products, wash commonly touched surfaces regularly.
Wear a cloth face covering in public settings:
○ Cloth face coverings can be made at home and can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
TEAMS NEW YORK, NEW ENGLAND and NEW JERSEY brought together 105 coaches, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame members Jim Boeheim, Geno Auriemma, C. Vivian Stringer and Rick Pitino.
Founded by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and playwright Dan Klores (most recently director of the 20-hour, 10-part epic on ESPN ,“BASKETBALL: A LOVE STORY”), The RENS, or New York Renaissance Basketball Association, equips inner city athletes with the tools necessary to maximize their life potential on and off the basketball court.
Fans can follow along via the coaches’ social media channels and the hashtags #TEAMLOUISIANA, #TEAMNEWJERSEY, #TEAMNEWENGLAND and #TEAMNEWYORK.
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