iHoops appoints Len Elmore CEO

Some big news was just announced by our friends over at iHoops: Len Elmore has just been named CEO of the recently launched youth basketball initiative. If you don’t know much about Elmore’s history beyond the wise words he offers on CBS and ESPN college basketball telecasts, please read the press release below. He is an incredibly impressive guy:

INDIANAPOLIS, May 3, 2010: Len Elmore, the former University of Maryland and NBA star and current ESPN and CBS Sports announcer has been named chief executive officer of iHoops, the joint youth basketball initiative of the NCAA and NBA, it was announced today by the iHoops board of directors.

Elmore, who starred in the NBA and ABA for 10 seasons, is a longtime advocate for intercollegiate reform and will lead the charge to develop youth basketball in America. Jointly established by the NCAA and NBA in 2009, iHoops is committed to providing a structure and creating programs to improve the quality of youth basketball in the United States to enhance the athletic, educational and social experience for millions of boys and girls, parents, coaches and officials.

“Basketball has played an integral role in my life and I am honored to lead iHoops’ mission to improve youth basketball and provide safe and supportive opportunities for youngsters to play the game they love,” said Elmore. “I look forward to developing partnerships with basketball’s stakeholders, so we can all work together to improve our sport for every player, parent, coach and official in the years ahead.”

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Elmore was originally appointed to iHoops’ board of directors, helping to steer the initiative’s progress since its inception. He succeeds Kevin Weiberg, who stepped down in March to become deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Pac-10 Conference.

“Len’s knowledge and passion for the game of basketball and for the values it teaches — teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship —  will be invaluable as he works to build on the success that iHoops has achieved,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

With Elmore preparing to assume his new and expanded role, iHoops has achieved important milestones in its first year. Nike, adidas and Right Guard have joined iHoops as founding partners; iHoops.com, the premier online resource for youth basketball was launched; grassroots programs, including the iHoops Skills Challenge have been developed to increase participation at the grassroots level; and information has been provided to thousands of student athletes and their families on balancing academics with athletics and navigating the recruiting process and NCAA eligibility rules. Additionally, as part of iHoops’ goal to unify the game’s stakeholders, new partnerships were formed with USA Basketball, the Amateur Athletic Union and the National Federation of State High Schools, among others, to further support educational and basketball programming efforts.

“What Len Elmore brings to youth basketball and iHoops is love for the game, integrity of character and a claim on the absolute necessity to get this right,” said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch.

As the popularity of basketball continues to rise — it is currently the number one U.S. participatory team sport with 23 million boys and girls playing the game — iHoops provides a renewed emphasis on the fundamentals of the game and safety and support of its participants.  iHoops’ extensive online community and network of events and programs will play a vital role in the game’s long-term growth.  Elmore will oversee the expansion of original content and special offerings on iHoops.com, which currently provides supporting services and resources for players, parents, coaches, officials, teams and event organizers including skills training, educational programming, events registration, instructional videos, highlights, blogs, social media, and eventually online education courses for coaches and officials.

Elmore will maintain his familiar role as color analyst for men’s college basketball games on ESPN and CBS Sports.  Additionally, Elmore will continue to fulfill his lifelong commitment to education, athletics and public service as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics Reform, the Boys Club of New York Board of Trustees and University of Maryland Foundation Board of Trustees.

Board members of iHoops include Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball and Business Strategies Greg Shaheen, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver, NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, and NBA Executive Vice President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs Kathy Behrens.