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New York NCAA Division I basketball coaches unite as 'Team New York' to combat COVID-19

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Wed, Apr 15th 2020 09:35 am

Historic coaching coalition will use their platforms to communicate critical health & safety tips

Inspired by the leadership and actions of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, two of New York’s top young basketball coaches have launched a historic partnership between the state’s 44 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I basketball head coaches who have come together to form “Team New York.” As part of the team, each coach will use their social media platform to share public health guidelines with their audience in an effort to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Fans can follow the #TEAMNEWYORK hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Andy Borman, 40, executive director of the RENS, one of the region’s elite AAU organizations, and Ben Horwitz, 25, a graduate assistant at Syracuse University, both recognized the unique influence these coaches have in their communities and created the coalition to help communicate critical information to their followers, teams, students, fans, teachers, friends and alumni, during these unprecedented times.

“There is power in numbers,” Borman said.

“Knowing that all 44 of these mentors – people who are often rivals – have come together to battle is what makes this state and this game unique,” Horwitz added. “David Stern would often ask ‘Can a ball change the world?’ And these 44 basketball leaders are saying it can.”

The head coaches represent all 22 NCAA D1 schools in New York and range from Hall of Famers – including Iona’s Rick Pitino and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim – to first-year coaches. They include schools in conferences such as the ACC, Big East, Ivy, Patriot and MAC.

The full list of “Team New York” coaches and their affiliations is:

  • Albany – Will Brown (men’s), Colleen Mullen (women’s)
  • Army – Jimmy Allen (men’s), Dave Magarity (women’s)
  • Binghamton – Tommy Dempsey (men’s), Bethann Shapiro Ord (women’s)
  • Buffalo – Jim Whitesell (men’s), Felisha Legette-Jack (women’s)
  • Canisius – Reggie Witherspoon (men’s), Scott Hemer (women’s)
  • Colgate – Matt Langel (men’s), Bill Cleary (women’s)
  • Columbia – Jim Engles (men’s), Megan Griffith (women’s)
  • Cornell – Brian Earl (men’s), Dayna Smith (women’s)
  • Fordham – Jeff Neubauer (men’s), Stephanie Gaitley (women’s)
  • Hofstra – Joe Mihalich (men’s), Danielle Santos Atkinson (women’s)
  • Iona – Rick Pitino (men’s), Billi Chambers (women’s)
  • LIU-Brooklyn – Derek Kellogg (men’s), Rene Haynes (women’s)
  • Manhattan – Steve Masiello (men’s), Heather Vulin (women’s)
  • Marist – John Dunne (men’s), Brian Giorgis (women’s)
  • Niagara – Greg Paulus (men’s), Jada Pierce (women’s)
  • Siena – Carmen Maciariello (men’s), Ali Jaques (women’s)
  • St. Bonaventure – Mark Schmidt (men’s), Jesse Fleming (women’s)
  • St. Francis-Brooklyn – Glenn Braica (men’s), Linda Cimino (women’s)
  • St. John's – Mike Anderson (men’s), Joe Tartamella (women’s)
  • Stony Brook – Geno Ford (men’s), Caroline McCombs (women’s)
  • Syracuse – Jim Boeheim (men’s), Quentin Hillsman (women’s)
  • Wagner – Bashir Mason (men’s), Heather Jacobs (women’s)

The simple message points to be stressed on the social media platforms of all 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 New Yorkers 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.

Paulus tweeted, "We are all in this together! Let’s do our part to keep flattening the curve."

Borman, who played on the 2001 Duke NCAA championship team said, “Gov. Cuomo’s leadership during this time of crisis has been nothing short of inspiring and has influenced us as a basketball community to do our part – which is why none of these coaches even blinked when Ben and I asked them to join us.”

Horwitz concluded, “Each one of these coaches is a leader in their community with the ability to reach both young and old. We hope the fact they are choosing to use their platforms in this powerful way will inspire other states or conferences to get involved, too.”

Fans can follow along via the coaches’ social media channels and the hashtag #TEAMNEWYORK.

The RENS, or New York Renaissance Basketball Association (www.nyrhoops.org), equips inner-city athletes with the tools necessary to maximize their life potential on and off the basketball court. It is a nonprofit, sports-based youth development organization founded in 2012 by Peabody award-winning filmmaker and playwright Dan Klores. The RENS have more than 220 boys and girls participants, from diverse backgrounds in grades 3-11, from across the tristate area. The organization is nationally renowned for its progressive educational work, free one-on-one tutoring and orange emblem anti-gun violence campaign.

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