What do you do for Full-time work?
Assistant Basketball Coach at Rider University
What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?
12-Inches Over. It’s a professional development platform for coaches. It has been in existence since April 2020
What is your project’s origin story: Why did you start this project; what was the passion behind the project.
It was born out of COVID. I had, unlike most people at the time, my job was cut short. We were in our tournament when COVID hit. And we were scheduled to play on Thursday, March 12. And they canceled our tournament.
So Stephanie Tryce, my wife, is a professor of sport marketing at St. Joe's University. She started classes the following Monday, and she wanted to have me in her Sport Marketing class to talk about someone that was affected directly by COVID.
I talked to her class on a Zoom call. It was the first time I've ever been on Zoom. You can go now and check out how to organize virtual events like this for motivational sports speakers at the previous link.
Then a friend of mine, Dr. Scott Brooks, who is a professor of sociology at the global sports Institute at Arizona State; Scott and I have been friends since my daughter and his son were in first grade together and my daughter is now 23. So we've been friends for that long and he was in Philadelphia getting his doctorate at University of Pennsylvania at the time.
So Scott called me also; Scott said, Hey, I need to talk to somebody that's been affected directly by COVID. So he and I had this conversation and he recorded it. It was recorded on Zoom. So I said to him, I said Scott, how hard is this? And he said it was not very hard. He said call your University and have them set you up with Zoom.
What I did Mike was I ended up texting 20 people; 20 of my friends who are coaches, and said, If I have a zoom about basketball coaches, would you guys get on? And everybody came back and said, Yes. So I set up a zoom. And it was on a Monday night. And we got 29 people. Wow. And from guys that I worked with, guys that I work with, currently, to a couple of guys that I’m friends with that are professional coaches.
So I got them on. And we just kind of set the ground rules, how are we going to do this? So but one thing I did Mike, and I wanted to do this to show them. I asked everybody to introduce themselves. There were 29 guys and I asked them to introduce themselves. And I asked them to talk about the years of experience that they had. And I added up those years. We had 493 years of coaching experience with 29. Guys. Wow. So I told them, I said there is no topic in basketball that we can encounter. Oh, so we set the ground rules. And we had said, we're going to do this once a week or twice a week. And everybody said twice a week. So I said, I said we're gonna do it Wednesday and Sunday. And Jerome Allen, who was one of our members who was an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. Jerome said, Well, I can't come on Wednesday, because we do a Zoom with our team on Wednesday. So I said, Now we got to have you involved. So we decided on Thursday, and Sunday, so I was going to end the call. And one coach said, Hey, can we talk about the recruiting process? And for the next hour and 45 minutes, we talked about recruiting?
So then the second session, we came back, we just talked about, you know, what we are doing with our teams during COVID? Right, when it first happened, how are we staying engaged? You know, Jerome as a pro coach said that they were having Zooms, and they had LL Cool J and they had Mark Wahlberg, and then we, and we all started laughing because we said as college coaches, we can't get those kind of guys.
Is it currently monetized?
The short answer is, “No,” but there are opportunities that came out of our meetings.
It is not monetized, however, from 12 inches over and then and that's a whole separate arm to it. The different things that we've had on board. And obviously, with the social justice movement, we've had a lot of people on the show talking about that.
As basketball coaches, we were asked to be a part of diversity and inclusion on campus, and then athletic departments. Well, we weren't trained for it. So I had a gentleman on, named Doug Harris, who is the president CEO of Kaleidoscope, which is one of the largest DEI companies in America. You know, so one of our members was a founding member who put us in touch and he said, “Yes.” So he came on and gave us a great overview.
But a lot of things that they (our jobs) were asking us to do was, you know, on the front line, so then I had one of Stephanie's law school colleagues, who is the diversity inclusion at a university in Philadelphia, and had just stepped away. I had her come on and train us. I had Sabrina Come on. Sabrina Harris is her name she came on. And she did a presentation to us as to what to say, what we could say, how to get important questions out and things like that. So two of our coaches on there, Kevin Baggett, who's the head coach at Rider and Jade Pierce the head women's coach at Niagara belong to the MAAC conference. Those two went to the conference and said we need to have diversity training. And Sabrina and Stephanie need to do it. So part of this is Stephanie and Sabrina from 12 inches over got a contract to do that conference. You know, one of our other members, Marcus Kirkland, who's at Wingate College in South Carolina, Marcus Kirkland was asked to be the DEI, person for athletics. So then he sat down and he had a long conversation with Stephanie and Sabrina to know if he was doing the right things, the training.
I had a friend of mine on, Renee Hill, who's a fashion designer for Harx4. Renee and I grew up together. And Harx4 is a very stylish, petite boutique type fashion. She's a fashion designer, if you go on Harx4.com, you'll see her stuff. Now Renee was talking about her struggles but she was on Project Runway. And she talked about the lack of diversity there. So Renee is talking to those people about diversity. Now she comes back to Stephanie and Sabrina to get some information to take to them. This whole thing is about connecting the dots.
Who would you say it is meant to serve? If it wasn’t already said.
Primarily basketball coaches
Is there a point where you hesitated to start it? What got you over that hump?
No, because I was at home due to COVID
Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world.
You can listen to the 12 inches over podcast HERE