Feb. 12, 2007
Cleveland, Ohio – The newly formed McLendon Minority Scholarship Ad Hoc Steering Committee of National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Division I-A Athletics Directors announced the inaugural induction of the “Legends Class”, the first Hall of Fame that will honor minority collegiate and professional athletics administrators who have made a lasting impact on sport, in conjunction with the debut of the John McLendon Basketball Classic. The Classic is an event created to raise funds for the McLendon Minority Scholarship Fund.
The Legends Class will be honored at a luncheon prior to the Basketball Classic, on Tuesday, December 18, 2007. The game will feature Cleveland State versus Ohio State at Quicken Loans Arena.
The inaugural class of minority amateur and professional athletics administrators will be comprised of Wayne Embry was the first NBA African American general manager when he served in that role for the Milwaukee Bucks; Dr. James Frank was the first college president and African American to hold the presidency at the NCAA; Ozzie Newsome, general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, was the first African American to be named a GM in the NFL; Gene Smith was the first African American to be named NACDA’s president and is currently the first minority to hold the AD position at Ohio State; Dr. LeRoy Walker was the first minority to be named president of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and was the first African American to win NACDA’s Corbett Award (the associations highest honor); and Bill White was the first and only African American to become president of Major League Baseball’s National League. When White became a major league broadcaster for the New York Yankees, he was the first African American to hold such a position in baseball.
Listed below are brief biographies on the above winners.
Wayne Embry – Embry played for three teams in the NBA during his 11-year career. He participated in five consecutive NBA All-Star games and was a member of the 1968 Boston Celtics championship team. He became the first NBA African-American general manager following his playing days, managing the Milwaukee Bucks (1971-79), the Cleveland Cavaliers (1986-99) and the Toronto Raptors (2006). He was a two-time recipient of the NBA Executive of the Year award (1992, 1998). Embry currently serves as the senior advisor to the president of the Toronto Raptors. He is a member of the basketball Hall of Fame and Alpha Phi Alpha, the first African American intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity.
Dr. James Frank – Frank was a three-sport athlete at Lincoln University and returned to his alma mater twice over the course of his career, once as a basketball coach, and again as president. While serving as president at Lincoln, Frank also held the secretary-treasury and presidential offices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He was the first college president and first African American to hold those positions in the NCAA. In 1983 he was appointed the commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a position he held for five years. In 1998, Frank was NACDA’s Corbett Award winner, which is presented annually to the collegiate administrator who “through the years has most typified Corbett’s devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment.” Frank has received the NCAA’s Distinguished American and Silver Anniversary Awards. He has also been inducted into four halls of fame, including the National Black College Hall of Fame.
Ozzie Newsome – After graduating from the University of Alabama, Newsome was a first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1978. He played 13 seasons for the team, before retiring in 1990 as the NFL’s all-time leading tight end receiver. In 2002, Newsome accepted a position as general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, making him the first African American NFL general manager. In 2003, Newsome helped lead the Ravens to their first-ever division title. He was one of the first people selected to serve on the NFL’s Diversity Committee, which was established in 2002. Newsome is a member of the historically black Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and has been inducted into four halls of fame – the NFL Pro Football HOF, the National Football Foundation College HOF, the NCAA HOF and the State of Alabama HOF.
Gene Smith – Smith was a member of Notre Dame’s 1973 national championship team and served as an assistant football coach at his alma mater after graduating in 1977. In 1983, Smith began his athletics administration career as assistant athletics director at Eastern Michigan. In 1985 he was named interim athletics director before coming the permanent AD a year later. Since then, Smith has been an athletics director at Iowa State, Arizona State, and currently at Ohio State. He is the first African American to hold this position for the Buckeyes and was NACDA’s first African American president in 1994. Currently, he is also the president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and is on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee. Smith serves on various national committees and was honored by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful African Americans in Sports.” Smith will also serve on the McLendon Scholarship Ad Hoc Steering Committee of the Division I-A Athletics Directors, but was not included on this initial release because of his nomination to the inaugural “Legends Class.”
Dr. LeRoy Walker – Walker started out his athletics administration career as a coach and an athletics director at North Carolina Central University. He coached football, basketball and started the institution’s track and field program. In track and field, Walker coached more than 40 national champions and 80 all-americans. He also coached 11 track and field medalist and served as the Olympic national coach for Israel and Ethiopia, Tinidad-Tobago, Jamaica, Kenya and the United States. From 1992-96, Walker was the first African American president of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). He was also the first African American to win NACDA’s Corbett Award. Walker has been inducted into 13 halls of fame and is the author of four published books on youth in sport.
Bill White – White played major-league baseball for a total of 13 years as a member of three teams. He participated in six Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star games as well as the 1964 World Series and won second straight Gold Glove awards from 1960-66. While still a player, White dabbled in sports radio and eventually joined the New York Yankees broadcast crew from 1971-88. He was the first African American to be a major league broadcaster. In 1989, White became the highest ranking African American official in baseball when he became president of the National League. He served in that role until 1994. White was instrumental in increasing the hiring of women and minorities in MLB.
McLendon Minority Scholarship Ad Hoc Steering Committee of National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Division I-A Athletics Directors: Kevin Anderson, Chair, United States Military Academy; Warde Manuel, University at Buffalo; Keith Tribble, University of Central Florida; Derrick Gragg, Eastern Michigan University; Damon Evans, University of Georgia; Herman Frazier, University of Hawaii; McKinley Boston, New Mexico State University; Mike Garrett, University of Southern California; Daryl Gross, Syracuse University; Daniel Guerrero, UCLA; and Craig Littlepage, University of Virginia.
About the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Program: The John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards are presented to senior-level minority students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in athletics administration. If you have any questions regarding this program, please feel free to call or e-mail Brian Horning (email@example.com) in the NACDA office, 440/892-4000.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 42nd year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,100 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,000 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 10 professional associations for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics director.