One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for March 29, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
This week is a special week for college basketball coaches. Not only will the Final Four be held in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday April 4 and Monday April 6, 2015 but the annual National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Convention will be held in conjunctions with the games.
I was a member of the NABC from 1977 to 1999 and really enjoyed my 22 year association with the NABC. The great fringe benefit was as an active NABC member you got to purchase a ticket to the Final Four games. The better fringe benefit was being able to see old coaching friends and meeting new ones. Some Final Four memorabilia and my NABC membership card are below.
At a Final Four in the 1990’s I met a young man who was really passionate about the game of basketball especially the smaller NCAA Division I universities like Winthrop where I was coaching when we met. He had a passion and vision that basketball fans wanted to learn and keep up with the mid-major schools not just UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina. My friend’s name is Joe Dwyer and the name of his business is College Insider. Joe started out in the print media business but soon turned to online format. He invited me and a bunch of other coaches to do columns for college insider.com. I enjoyed it and was glad to do something to promote our level of basketball. Also it was hard to say no to someone as likable as Joe Dwyer.
Some of you might be familiar with the tournament Joe Dwyer and his business partner started in 2009 called the College Insider Tournament (CIT). My Alma Mater East Carolina won the 2013 CIT Championship with a great shot at the buzzer. The tournament has been a great thing and the 2015 event will finish up on April 2nd.
You Tube link to 2013 CIT Championship game below:
Once I met Joe it became part of my Final Four ritual to have at least one beer with him whether it was in Seattle, New York City, Indianapolis, or San Antonio. In the last years I was coaching Joe’s business model had really gotten traction and steam. Our Final Four beer had gone from me finding Joe in the lobby to Joe making me feel like a rock star by inviting my wife Mira to his exclusive College Insider Final Four receptions.
When I got out of coaching the first 2 or 3 years Joe would call me on Sunday night and I was part of his College Insider.com Internet Podcasts. If you want to listen to this season’s archived podcasts they are all available online at:
Joe and his friend Angela Lento have been very loyal to me over the years and they probably don’t even realize it. I still receive an VIP invitation every year to join them at their Final Four Reception. I haven’t made it to a Final Four in 17 years but if I get back I plan on buying Joe Dwyer another beer.
The Friend – JOE DWYER
The Friend of the Friend – ANGELA LENTO – with one the Emmy’s CI has won
The College Insider (CI) Story
In 1996 Joe Dwyer and his business partner Angela Lento began running coaches columns on the internet. This gave fans a fist hand look at what each coach was thinking about his team, the sport, or some random subject. These columns gave fans the opportunity to hear from a host of Division I coaches in a more relaxed, free form environment and were an immediate hit. That success mushroomed because of their hard work and passion for the game of basketball. Today every Division I Men and Women’s Basketball Coach knows Joe and Angela and have a great appreciation for their business model.
Joe and Angela’s passion for basketball especially at the mid-major level has demonstrated itself in a lot of unique branding ways. For instance CI created the Top 25 Mid-Major Pool and a host of awards that can be found below:
Gene Bartow Award
Jack Bennett Award
Lefty Driesell Award
Hugh Durham Award
Clarence Gaines Award
Joe B. Hall Award
Lou Henson Award
Ben Jobe Award
Kyle Macy Award
John McLendon Award
Don Meyer Award
Lute Olson Award
Jim Phelan Award
Skip Prosser Award
Glenn Robinson Award
Riley Wallace Award
In 2009 Joe and Angela took on the daunting task of creating a new post season tournament called the CIT. This year 2015 will mark the 7th year of its existence. I am real proud of what these two entrepeneurs have created.
If you want to find out what is going on inside college basketball do yourself a favor and bookmark http://www.collegeinsider.com