ST. PETERSBURG — On the day that 350 or more members are due in town for the annual Black Coaches and Administrators convention here, one of the most high-profile coaching jobs in all of sports went to an African-American. Former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown was named the Lakers coach Wednesday, replacing Phil Jackson.
"This is just great; I'm really happy for him. What a great opportunity," said Floyd A. Keith, executive director of the BCA, who got to know Brown as a dues-paying BCA member when Brown was an Indiana Pacers assistant coach. BCA is headquartered in Indianapolis.
The theme for this year's convention is "Back to the Basics," and Keith said the convention will promote the BCA's fundamental positions toward equity and fairness in hiring, but also serve as a reminder of why their members are coaches and administrators.
"What we're trying to do is get back to the core values of why we do our things professionally, also what our obligations are," Keith said. "To give back and share, to develop others and help them advance, to show that sport is of great value for all the right reasons."
Former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, now a college football analyst with ESPN, will be the keynote speaker today, and NCAA president Mark Emmert will be in town today to speak at the convention's general session.
"It shows the value of the BCA and what we're about that he will take time out of a very busy and complex schedule to share with our membership," Keith said. "I think that's really huge, and it's great to have him here and sharing his message … as far as where he is as the voice and leader of the NCAA."
YOUTH CLINIC: The most public event of the convention is a youth sports developmental clinic Saturday morning at Campbell Park, which is free and open to children between ages 8 and 13. There will be instruction from college and high school coaches in sports such as football, basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball.
STAYING CLOSE: The BCA held its convention at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor last year, and Keith said last year went well enough that the BCA chose to return to Pinellas County for this year's gathering at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club.
"The reception we had was so great. Our members appreciated the area, and you can't beat the weather," Keith said. "It was one of those invitations you can't turn down, and we're really happy to be here."
The BCA's 2012 convention will be next spring in Orlando.