CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia’s Dean and Markel Families Men’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Bennett and his wife, Laurel, along with 35 other collegiate head coaches, and the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation today announced a partnership to help launch the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative.

This coach-driven initiative will provide minorities a jump-start to their careers through practical experiences, opportunities to build their network, and instilling the values of John McLendon: Integrity, Education, Leadership and Mentorship.

Participants in the initiative will be known as MLI Future Leaders.

As an ambassador for the MLI, the Bennetts are funding a MLI Future Leader and the Virginia athletics department plans to be a part of the MLI starting with the 2020-21 athletics season.

“There are so many well-qualified minorities that are very deserving of this opportunity,” Bennett said. “My wife and I are honored to be a part of this initiative”

“The McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative is a huge step in the right direction for enhancing the pipeline within our industry,” said Andrea Williams, Chief Operating Officer at the College Football Playoff and McLendon Foundation President. “There are many qualified minority individuals who are prepared to make their mark and begin their careers in college athletics, and this program, jumpstarted by Kentucky coach (John) Calipari, is a great foundation to build on.”

The McLendon Foundation, along with G3 Marketing and ProLink Staffing Services, will be assisting in the solicitation of collegiate coaches, administrators and corporations to build this program and provide opportunities within athletics departments at all levels, with the ultimate goal of expanding and enhancing the pipeline for minorities interested in pursuing careers in athletics administration. As an added benefit, the Joel Cornette Foundation will assist the Future Leaders with corporate mentorship, development, and job placement.

More information regarding the MLI, including a pre-application for interested and qualified individuals, can be found at Learn more about John McLendon here.

In conjunction with this announcement, the McLendon Foundation is unveiling a newly designed website to showcase the efforts of the Foundation, highlighted by its mission to empower and develop minorities who aspire to be principled leaders in athletics administration by providing educational resources and access to a life-long community of mentors.