Ernie Grunfeld of the Washington Wizards hosts participants in the International Coaching Apprenticeship in Basketball program.

Global hoops

Apprenticeship program, UD host basketball coaches from around the world


12:48 p.m., Dec. 3, 2014--The second edition of the International Coaching Apprenticeship in Basketball (ICAB), which included sessions at the University of Delaware, was completed in November. 

ICAB is a program that is funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Solidarity Fund, the Federation Internationale Basketball (FIBA), the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and UD. 

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It consists of three modules spread over 30 days and includes an apprenticeship with an NCAA Division I basketball program.

The program is organized and led by Matthew Robinson, professor of sport management in UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and Jeffrey Schneider, lecturer in the College of Health Sciences. 

“ICAB was created based on the relationships formed from offering the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP),” Robinson said. “FIBA and Olympic Solidarity were interested in offering a basketball specific coaching development program and we are honored that we have been offered this opportunity. We are also thankful for the USOC’s continued support of UD coach development programs and for the willingness of the basketball programs to serve as host sites.

Included in this year’s program were the University of North Carolina women’s program, the Villanova University women’s program, and the men’s and women’s programs at UD and LaSalle University.

Participants included national team coaches from Demark, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Czech Republic and New Zealand.

Coaches included in the program were nominated by their respective FIBA regions and ultimately selected by the FIBA Coaching Development Department. Participants received full scholarships through the financial support of Olympic Solidarity, USOC and FIBA to cover all of the expenses associated with the program. 

The first module consisted of lectures and discussions at UD and its Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus facilities. It included presentations by Sean Ford, men’s national team manager for USA Basketball; Cheryl Reeve, head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and assistant coach of the world champion U.S. Women’s National Team, and retired UD athletic director Edgar Johnson, who discussed the role of the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics. 

In the second module, the coaches were embedded with the basketball programs and attended all training sessions, individual workouts, team and staff meetings, film session and any other activities related to the programs. 

Along with those activities, the participants interviewed members of the universities’ athletic departments, such as the athletic directors, the compliance directors and the directors of athletic fundraising, to name a few. 

The interviews enabled the participants to gain an understanding and appreciation of all that goes into basketball being played in the American university environment.

Participants were also required to complete an analytics project using statistical models presented in the first module, as well as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they had identified and wanted to track. 

They also conducted a program analysis that covered basketball theory and styles of play, coaching philosophies, program management, and an overview of staff responsibilities. 

Lárus Jónsson of Iceland said, “This program is one of a kind and I hope that you will keep up the good work so that more people will have the opportunity to participate in the future.”

LaSalle men’s coach John Giannini, whose program hosted Jónsson, said, “This was an incredible learning experience for both Larus and us. The staff enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to interact with the international basketball community.”

The program’s third module included a presentation on grassroots initiatives and a trip to the Washington Wizards organization, where the coaches attended a team shootaround and met with the Wizards basketball operations staff including team president Ernie Grunfeld, head coach Randy Wittman and vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard.

Michael Schwarz, director of coaching education for FIBA Europe and the former head coach of the German national team and the Bayern Munich club team, joined the program during the third module as an observer. 

Added experiences included opportunities for participants from New Zealand and Estonia, who were with the women’s program at the University of North Carolina, to attend a coaching clinic led by UNC men’s head coach Roy Williams and men’s team practices.

Trine Michelason of Denmark was with the Villanova team and attended media day for the Big East Conference, where she had an opportunity to meet with Val Ackerman, the commissioner who also serves on the board of directors for USA Basketball. 

“This was an incredible experience,” Michelason said. “The staff at Villanova was so open.”

Both the UD men’s and women’s programs hosted coaches. Monte Ross and the men’s program hosted a participant from Norway and Tina Martin and the women’s program hosted a coach from the Czech Republic.

In past years the ICAB program has hosted coaches from Iran, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Finland and Belgium.

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