Drexel's Inaugural Coaches Conference Brings Together Established and Aspiring Coaches from Across Philadelphia

Mehdi Rhazali (R), head tennis coach at Drexel, talks with a student-athlete.
Mehdi Rhazali (R), head tennis coach at Drexel, talks with a student-athlete.

Bringing together established and aspiring coaches of all levels and in a variety of sports, Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management will host its inaugural Philadelphia Coaches Conference on Tuesday, May 19 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. The conference aims to encourage professional development and growth through a series of educational sessions led by a diverse group of experienced and knowledgeable coaches. 

“Philadelphia is rich with sport history,” said Amy Giddings, PhD, conference organizer and assistant teaching professor in sport management at Drexel. “While we tend to focus on athletes, it is important to take note of coaches and understand how their leadership inspires our city’s athletes.”

Fran Dunphy, men’s basketball head coach at Temple University, will deliver a keynote address.

The conference will kick off with a Coaches Awards Dinner for invited guests and sponsors at the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management’s Academic Bistro (101 N. 33rd Street, 6th floor) on Monday, May 18, with a keynote address from Brett Brown, head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Following the address, he will participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by Malik Rose, color commentator for the Philadelphia 76ers.

To honor the region’s coaches, awards will be presented to “The Philadelphia Coach of the Year” in four categories – youth, scholastic, collegiate and professional. The “Youth Coach of the Year Award” will be presented to Steve Bandura, coach of the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation’s Anderson Monarchs baseball team, three of whom, including Mo’ne Davis, went on to play for the Center City Taney Dragons at the Little League World Series; “Scholastic Coach of the Year” will go to Robert Moore, head coach for boys' basketball at Constitution High School; “Collegiate Coach of the Year” will go to Jay Wright, head coach for men’s basketball at Villanova University; and “Professional Coach of the Year” will go to Brown.

The second day of the conference is dedicated to coaching professionals and students, and will address current issues in coaching, featuring industry-led panel discussions and keynote addresses from Phil Martelli, men’s basketball head coach at Saint Joseph’s University, and Fran Dunphy, men’s basketball head coach at Temple University. For the full conference agenda, click here.

“We created this conference in an effort to provide coaches with the opportunity to network and share information about their profession with one another,” said Giddings. “Coaches’ schedules frequently make it very difficult to find time to connect with other coaches and we want to provide an opportunity for coaches to engage in dialogue with other coaches in our region.”

The conference is open to all coaches, aspiring coaches, teams and leagues. Registration includes access to all keynotes, presentations and panels on Tuesday, continental breakfast, lunch and the concluding reception. To register, click here.

“As an athletic director, one of my first priorities is the development of student-athletes and coaches,” said James P. Lynch, director of athletics for Father Judge High School, who helped to organize the conference. “With the establishment of the Philadelphia Coaches Conference at Drexel University, we can learn from others in this profession from around the region. Whether you are a youth, scholastic, collegiate or professional coach, this conference can help you build your program, as well as improve the impact that you have on your team and in the community. This conference will be a great avenue to network, build relationships and continue to improve coaching in our city.”

Another new learning opportunity for coaches is Drexel’s recently launched, fully online master of science degree in sport coaching leadership, which will engage students in the areas of coaching theory, developing a program, coaching philosophy, goal-setting, understanding the needs of athletes, recruiting, developing training programs, budgeting, program planning, forecasting, NCAA compliance and fundraising.

“The creation of the online master’s program in sport coaching leadership positions Drexel as a leader in the field of coaching education,” said Giddings. “We aim to serve the needs of coaches regionally, nationally and globally. Our city, in particular, has a need for quality coach development programs in youth, scholastic, collegiate and professional sports. The immediate feedback we have received related to our curriculum is inspiring. Coaches want and need this type of program.”

“Very rarely do we take the time to educate or provide educational opportunities for our coaches,” Giddings said. “We assume that if someone is a good athlete, they will be a good coach in their sport. This is often not the case. Many athletes attempt to coach, but leave the profession early because they are ill-equipped for the high demands of the role or have limited mentoring. If we want coaches to be successful and to utilize sport as a vehicle to develop athletes physically, socially and emotionally, we need to provide them with the education to make that happen.”

For more information on Drexel's master of science degree in sport coaching leadership, click here.