Caribbean track legend Dr. Dennis Johnson honored, launches foundation

Dr. Dennis Johnson is being honored tonight by Team Jamaica Bickle and launching his own foundation.

Dr. Dennis Johnson is being honored in Brooklyn New York, Thursday night by Team Jamaica Bickle and launching his own foundation.

By Andrea Daley

On Thursday, April 17, Jamaican track and field legend Dr. Dennis ‘D.J.’ Johnson will be honored while launching the Dennis Johnson Foundation. The event will take place in the auditorium of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. Johnson will be honored by Team Jamaica Bickle (TBJ), which is marking 20 years of unbroken service to Jamaica’s athletes at the Penn Relays; a program which has expanded to include other Caribbean athletes.

According to TJB, honoring Dennis Johnson “is long overdue.” Johnson is a legend both on and off the track. As a young athlete he drew wide acclaim at San Jose State University. His exploits on the track helped to coin the phrase ‘Speed City,’ used to describe the University. He equaled the world record of 9.3 seconds in the 100 yards four times in 1961, and still holds the world record in the 110 yards. He has represented Jamaica as an athlete and a coach for several decades and is sought-after worldwide for his expertise.

Johnson’s coach, Bud Winter, is said to have invented the science of sprinting. After San Jose, Johnson returned to Jamaica armed with that knowledge and with Winters’ help, laid the groundwork to what is now Jamaica’s very successful track program. He wrote the syllabi for the first school of sports sciences in the Caribbean with a baccalaureate program which began in 2010 at the University of Technology (UTECH).

The school will have its first graduands this summer. Since 1971, Johnson has served in various capacities at UTECH: as chairman of the sport advisory council through 2013; adjunct associate professor of sport science and director of sports. He also led special projects for intercollegiate sports. Johnson is also the founder of the Inter-Collegiate Sports competition.

TJB’s long history of recognizing track and field icons fits neatly with its mission. Twenty years later, with millions of dollars spent they are happy with the initiative.

“It is indeed gratifying to have made a positive impact on our youth and to recognize someone like Johnson whose life-work is just that!” said Irwine Clare, Sr., TJB’s founder and chief executive officer

Vincent HoSang reflecting on his 36 years in business, regrets that Clare did not call him then, “It’s a delight to give back,” he said, “considering where we started, in a small camper, I can only say thanks to my customers, workers and my family. Their support makes it possible.”

For more information, call 718.523.2861 or email: teamjamaicabickle@gmail.com.–OnPointPress.net.

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How college females can stay safe, while dating and having fun

 

Samara

Samara Brown graduated from St. John’s University’s Tobin School of Business with a degree in Marketing in May 2012.

By Carmen Glover

Achieving a balance between having fun and keeping safe while in college can be an elusive goal for females, many of whom are leaving home for the first time and eager to learn about themselves, date and earn their college degrees on time. The challenge of meeting all those responsibilities can be overwhelming for some, often leading to unfortunate results, including compromised safety.

New York’s Junior Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been a stalwart champion for female safety, trying valiantly to garner support for bills in the U.S. Senate promoting safety in the military and on college campuses. Speaking recently at a press conference at Columbia University in New York, Gillibrand was surrounded by female college students, some of whom wept while describing being sexually assaulted on campus and getting no redress while being forced to live with the psychological scars that resulted.

kirsten

New York’s Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is flanked by students from Columbia University at recent press conference announcing her initiative to fight sexual assaults on college campuses.

“The price of a college education should not include a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted and it is simply unacceptable that going to college should increase your chance of being sexually assaulted,” Gillibrand said, her eyes blazing with anger.

Reading from a prepared statement, Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University junior, said she was “raped on the first day” of her sophomore year at the university but despite reporting the matter to the university, the student who assaulted her was not charged with a crime. She admitted that she did not report the attack to the police only to campus officials.

lee bollinger

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger created a new position to oversee sexual assault reports.

Responding immediately to the press conference, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger released a statement indicating that he had created a new position, vice president of student affairs, who will report directly to him and focus on issues including sexual assaults. But for Sulkowicz, nothing was done to give her justice and the creation of the new oversight position might be too little, too late, since her sense of safety and security is already profoundly shattered.

In the meantime, Gillbrand is determined to shine a bright light on the issue of sexual assaults, partly because she fell just a few votes shy of earning passage of her measure to enact legislation that would dramatically change how the issue of sexual assaults is handled in the military. While garnering 55 votes, including support from 11 Republicans, her measure failed because she did not secure the 60 votes that she needed.

invisible war

U.S Coast Guard Kori Cioca and her husband Rob appeared in the documentary “Invisible War,” which aired in 2013 and showed the prevalence of sexual assaults on women in the military.

Gillibrand was aiming to strip the military of its power to examine sexual assault cases internally and instead have those cases dealt with outside of the military to avoid the repercussions that many enlisted females say they face when they report sexual assaults. However, Gillibrand said that during her quest to enact the military bill the reports that she got about sexual assaults on college campuses piqued her interest.

“We began to hear about the systemic problem on college campuses,’ she said.

The numbers prompted her to shift her focus to the nation’s college campuses in an effort to effect meaningful change towards ensuring females’ safety. Gillibrand is sponsoring a bipartisan bill and is trying to get $109 million air-marked to combat sexual assaults on college campuses.

While Gillibrand battles on in the Senate, St. John’s University graduate Samara Brown, who has never been assaulted but is keenly aware that some students at her alma mater were, believes that it is important for female students to embrace certain tips that kept her and her female friends safe when they were students.

air force

Members of the U.S. Air Force will still need to report sexual assaults to their military superiors, even if the superiors are the very ones who assaulted them, an injustice that Senator Gillibrand is trying diligently to change.

“There are different contributing factors to female students being unsafe on campus but from what I’ve seen a lot of girls in college are very eager and not very cautious. I’ve been there, very excited about the next party or concert and I think a lot of girls get caught up in the excitement of being out, having a good time and they neglect the safety part,” she said. “When that happens, they take many shots, post pictures on Instagram and let their guard down and they don’t think about safety.”

The key, Brown believes, is having a safety plan, and among the most successful measures she has found are going out in groups, having a designated driver if necessary, vetting guys through other guys before going on dates, always having your own cab fare, dressing appropriately and keeping friends aware of your whereabouts.

sam

St. John’s University’s Tobin School of Business graduate Samara Brown shares tips for keeping safe.

“It’s important to know where you are going and not end up somewhere else by chance. My friends and I always got ready at one dorm and we all left at the same time and left the party to return to our dorms at the same time,” she said, explaining that going out in groups which include a mix of males and females offers the best safety setting.

“Always have your own money so that if you have to leave you can call a cab and not have to wait for a bus when it’s late,” she cautioned. She also recommends being mindful about attire.

“When we leave the club and see how some of these girls dress in their raunchy outfits, they attract guys who invite them back to their apartments. With my group, when we drink we know who is intoxicated so that person will not drive or be left alone. If a female from our group had too much to drink we keep an eye on her and make sure she gets to her room safely,” she said.

kirsten

New York’s Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is committed to keeping females safe in college.

Brown also recommends vetting guys through other guys prior to one-on-one dates. “if you are fortunate to be in a conversation with someone who knows the guy, don’t throw all your feelings out there in the conversation, use it as an opportunity to learn about the person, almost like a secret agent,” she advised. “Once you realize this is someone you want to investigate, invite him out as part of your group so that you can observe him.”

Brown, who keeps an even mixture of male and females friends, said that she avoided dating on campus during her early years in college and was very selective because she asked her male friends what they thought about various issues and learned a valuable lesson in the process: males and females have different agendas.

“Most guys in college are not looking for a serious relationship whereas a lot of girls are looking for boyfriends or even husbands which is a tricky scenario because they want different things,” she explained. Females will fare better, she said, if they focus more on their safety and learning to accept themselves and enjoy the college experience with both males and females as friends, rather than focusing on dating. As you grow into your own, you become more confident and that allows you to attract the right person and maintain your safety at the same time, she said.

As Gillibrand continues her uphill battle to keep females safe on campus, the role of college graduates in adding their voices to the conversation cannot be over-emphasized, since college students find it easier to talk to their peers. Recent graduates relate to their concerns, angst, and goals, thereby making the message easier to accept and the safety process easier to navigate. One of the most significant things all students can do to enhance their safety is to read the college security booklet thoroughly and follow the steps outlined, so that as the college experience begins, safety comes first.  —OnPointPress.net.

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Hank Aaron highlights racism, past challenges, in accepting honor

Hank Aaron began his MLB career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves.

Hank Aaron began his MLB career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Tuesday, April 15, Major League Baseball (MLB) will continue its annual tradition of honoring Jackie Robinson throughout the league. All players will have the option of wearing his league-wide retired number 42 as a way of celebrating Robinson’s contributions to the game. Meanwhile, Henry “Hank” Aaron continues to point to changes that still need to occur in the game and in society.

Hank Aaron was honored in Atlanta as he was celebrated for his 715th home run last Tuesday.

Hank Aaron was honored in Atlanta as he was celebrated for his 715th home run last Tuesday.

Aaron remains in the consciousness of MLB as the 40th anniversary of his record- breaking 715th home run was honored on April, 8. Aaron explained how taxing the mental and emotional toll was during the 1970’s as he was approaching Babe Ruth’s record. Some were bothered by Aaron’s comments about the racism he faced and the racism he still notices in the game of baseball. Aaron made reference to the difference in racism by stating:

“The biggest difference is that back then they had hoods…now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Aaron’s comments were made in reference to the many issues President Obama has faced with Republicans and points to Aaron’s awareness of the continued challenges facing African-Americans and other minorities in this country.

While Aaron is remembered for his 755 career home runs, he also had 3771 hits and was a career .305 hitter.

While Aaron is remembered for his 755 career home runs, he also had 3771 hits and was a career .305 hitter.

This country has seen a great deal of advancements in racial disparities in sports, business, and politics since Aaron’s last MLB season in 1976. With these changes has come an argument by some that this country has moved past the deep bigotry and prejudice that unfortunately is woven into the fabric of this nation. Aaron continues to stand as a firm reminder of struggles many black people have faced and overcome as his baseball achievements may only be surpassed by his civil rights contributions.

Hank Aaron received high accommodations off the field as well, as he was awarded the Presidential  Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Hank Aaron received high accommodations off the field as well, as he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Aaron will always be defined by his mentality of hard work. As he states:

“If a person wants something bad enough, he works very hard for it.”

This approach has not only resulted in a Hall of Fame baseball career, but a Presidential Medal of Freedom (in 2002) and the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP (in 2005). Aaron’s recent comments gave insight from a man who has experienced extreme prejudice while demonstrating prolonged excellence.

Hank Aaron is not only a Hall of Fame baseball player but a life long civil rights activist.

Hank Aaron is not only a Hall of Fame baseball player but a life long civil rights activist.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is a close friend of Aaron’s and worked along his side for years while working towards improving civil rights in this country in the late 1960’s.

“We worked very closely during that period,”  Jackson recalls, demonstrating how long Aaron has dedicated his life’s work to bringing people together.OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

A blessed and reflective Palm Sunday, Holy Week

palm-sunday-title-slide053

The OnPointPress.net family is extending our thoughts and prayers for a blessed, reflective and special Palm Sunday and Holy Week to all our readers and your families. Easter is a very important season on the Christian calendar, filled with messages that are fundamental to the faith of many. As you go through the week, we pray that you will all be blessed.–OnPointPress.net.

Women of soul showcase talents in rousing White House acts

aretha

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin made a point of keeping herself aloof, sending an unmistakable message that she has no equal.

 

patti

Patti LaBelle brought the guests to their feet with strong, solid and powerful performances that delighted, thrilled and inspired.

By Carmen Glover

While basketball lovers were glued to their television sets on Monday night to watch the UConn men’s team thrash Kentucky for the NCAA championship, PBS aired the Women of Soul special, which was taped at the White House in March to honor Women’s History Month. Those who missed the one-hour special lost out on the chance to enjoy a real treat of performances by the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, entertainer extraordinaire Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott, Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, Tessanne Chin and Ariana Grande. The repeat broadcast will air on PBS on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

obamas

The First Family was represented by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and her mother Marian Robinson.

The night got off to an engaging start with President Barack Obama welcoming the guests and sharing why the gathering was convened.

“This is really a good lineup and I want to thank our performers for this evening. They are fantastic,” said the President. “Soul music makes us move. It makes us feel. Tonight we are in for a healthy dose of truth from some of the finest voices there are. I can’t wait.” The excitement emanating from the President’s voice was palpable. He then introduced Patti LaBelle as “a real American treasure.”

patti

President Obama did not hide the joy he felt after being treated to Patti LaBelle’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which awed and thrilled at the same time.

Addressing the President and First Lady, LaBelle said. “I want to thank you for the five years you have been in this wonderful home. You have taken us somewhere we’ve never been before.” She then sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ soaring to heights that were impressive, confident and smooth.

Jill Scott made it clear she was there to party when she sang and danced to Franklin’s hit “Rock Steady” before returning to perform her own hit “Golden.”

jill

Soul Singer Jill Scott performed her hit “Golden.” and Aretha Franklin’s hit “Rock Steady.”

Franklin, the ultimate in diva-like behavior, was the only singer to perform with her own band and backup singers. All of the other performers were accompanied by the house hand. Franklin did not disappoint, belting out “Never Loved a Man,” while the President rocked back and forth to the catchy number, smiling delightedly as the Queen of Soul brought the house down in a flawless performance. Franklin ended the show with a stirring rendition of the gospel classic “Amazing Grace,” that paid homage to her roots.

patti

Patti LaBelle commanded the stage while guests look on in rapt attention.

But the night unquestionably belonged to Patti LaBelle who was warm in her interactions with the other singers, even joining them onstage in performing a tribute to Tina Turner while Franklin was noticeably absent.

tina turner tribute

All of the singers except Aretha Franklin paid tribute to the indomitable Tina Turner.

LaBelle belted out her staple “Lady Marmalade” later in the evening, reaching notes that were as incredible in their range as they were thrilling to hear. She danced, pranced and delivered a spectacular performance that would put singers more than a third of her robust 70 years to shame.

janelle

Janelle Monae was a ball of energy and movements as she sang and danced.

The diminutive Monae was a ball of energy as she leapt from one end of the stage to the other while delivering the notes to Shirley Bassey’s James Bond theme song  “Goldfinger” in a voice as clear as a bell. Monae later performed “Tightrope” from the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” album. She enjoyed performing and at one point she knelt on stage, directly in front of the first family, eliciting rapturous smiles and dance moves from the President and First Lady, as they rocked in their seats.

melissa

Rocker Melissa Etheridge sang her classic “Only One.”

By the time Melissa Etheridge came to the stage to sing “Only One,” the guests needed no encouragement to make their appreciation known. While Chin lapsed into Jamaican patois as she gave some background about how deeply her love for music is steeped into the cultural mores from the land of her birth.

tessavve

Tessanne Chin waves to the guests as she walks to the stage .

Chin sang Donna Summer’ “Last Dance” and got into the spirit by dancing to the beat as she moved easily on stage and brought the song to life a style reminiscent of Summer herself.

ariana grande

Ariana Grande was nervous but once she began to sing the jitters fled.

Grande acted every bit her age, greeting the first family with “What’s up. How y’all doing. You okay?” causing them to burst into laughter and acknowledge that yes, they were doing just fine. Grande sang “I Have Nothing,” in honor of her late childhood icon Whitney Houston.

If you are unable to catch the re-broadcast when it airs on Saturday afternoon, set your television sets to record the special. You will not be disappointed.–OnPointPress.net.

 

Equal pay for women takes center stage at last on historic day

equal pay law

President Barack Obama signs two executive orders mandating equal pay for women who work for federal contractors on Tuesday, April 8.

By Carmen Glover

For the millions of women who toil assiduously in the workforce, often earning a minimum of three college degrees to get ahead, the knowledge that they are earning 77 cents to the dollar awarded to their male counterparts for the same work is unsettling at best, and an upsetting reminder of discrimination at worst.

equal pay

One of the many signs on display at the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

When President Obama signed not one, but two executive orders on Tuesday in celebration of Equal Pay Day, the action was long overdue for women who have been making a strong contribution to the workforce for centuries. Flanked by a group of women who have vested interest in the new orders, Obama was blunt in making his assessment at a press conference convened to announce the new initiatives.

equal pay

President Obama champions equal pay for women on Tuesday.

“A woman’s got to work about three more months to get what a man gets because she’s paid less. That’s unfair,” he said as the women applauded. “It’s like adding six miles to a marathon.” Pausing to catch his breath for a minute, the President was reflective, biting his bottom lip for a moment in his trademark style before resuming his train of thought. “I’ve got two daughters and I expect them to be treated like anybody’s sons for doing the same job,” he said.

But according to the 2013 Annual Report in Congress on White House staff, disparity exists between women on the President’s staff as well, with women earning considerable less than their male counterparts for the same work.

equal pay graphics

Even among White House staff there is disparity in pay between men and women for the same work.

The two executive orders signed by the President only affect federal contractors and their employees, but this represents a significant change since that group accounts for a solid portion of the workforce, up to a quarter, by some estimates. The orders encourages employees to discuss their salaries, whereas in the past that was viewed as a violation of work protocols.  Women who currently work for federal contractors will benefit from the new orders, while other working women now have hope that new measures will be put in place in the long term to affect their salaries as well.

equal pay

Standing behind a banner touting “Equality for All,” President Obama unveils two executive orders to address pay inequality.

Congress has steadfastly refused to act on any bill that would increase salaries for the poor and for women, therefore these new orders could bolster the Democrats’ platform as the country inches towards mid-term elections later this year. -OnPointPress.net.

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New York’s week old paid sick leave law, good for business

Pio Cadaba

Pio Cadaba, a small business owner of a bar in Manhattan, sees the Sick Leave Act as beneficial to both employees and employers by ensuring the health of the workforce.

By: Onissa Sancho

The average full-time New York employee works between 35-40 hours a week within a 12-month period but until Mayor Bill de Blasio made paid sick leave mandatory, low income workers were not entitled to that basic work benefit.  The mayor, along with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, announced the Earn Sick Time Act on April 1, 2014. The new law requires New York City employers to grant its employees sick leave to take care of themselves or a family member.

“Today marks a new beginning for many working New Yorkers who used to fear that asking for a sick day to take care of themselves or their family members would result in the loss of their income or even their jobs,” said New York’s 109th mayor on April 1, the first day the law took effect.

may

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is flanked by supporters after he signs the first law of his tenure, the Paid Sick Leave Law, which went into effect on April 1 and is now one week old.

Under this law, an employer who has five or more employees working 80-plus hour shifts within the year must provide one hour, regular hourly rate, no less than $8, of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The employee can accumulate up to 40 hours of paid sick leave during the year. The same dynamics apply to an employer with fewer than five employees, working 80-plus hour shifts a year, the only exception is its employees sick leave would be unpaid rather than paid. A domestic employee who works more than a year for the same employer must receive two days of paid sick leave. How can this law, which sounds ethical, affect the way businesses operate?

Pio Cadaba a small business owner of a bar located in Manhattan, doesn’t expect any side effects, instead, he sees the law as a net positive.

“This law will affect me very minimally, it doesn’t really hurt me. If it improves employee morale, I am all for It,” he said. “I think businesses should consider anything that can help its employees. You can have any business but the employees are the backbone.”

mayor

Supporters cheered and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio smiled after signing the Paid Sick Leave Law.

With five employees, the bar is opened Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 p.m-4:00 a.m. The flow of customers is just enough to allow Cadaba to schedule one employee to work weekdays. On the weekends, business picks up and two employees are scheduled to work. An assistant manager of a fashion retail giant in Queens, NY, who requested anonymity, had a different outlook from Cadaba.

“Such a law will benefit the employees, but the company will probably lose profit. I feel like the company is going to try its best to compensate the paid sick money in other ways, like charging more for merchandise, or cutting back employee working hours,” the manager said.

Mayor de Blasio and the DCA introduced the Earn Sick Time Act as much needed since a healthy employee is a happier employee and as Cadaba stated, a business cannot run without the labor of its employees. –OnPointPress.net.

Onissa Sancho is an intern at OnPointPress.net. Please follow her on Twitter @osjou222.

 

 

Lady Huskies beat the Irish in perfect NCAA basketball run

The Connecticut Huskies are 40 - 0 as they beat Notre Dame to finish the season undefeated.

The Connecticut Huskies are 40 – 0 as they beat Notre Dame to finish the season undefeated.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Geno Auriemma moves into first place with 9 NCAA titles, all at UConn.

Geno Auriemma moves into first place with 9 NCAA titles, all at UConn.

Tuesday night, the University of Connecticut continued its assault on the record books with its 9th NCAA Women’s National Basketball Championship. UConn defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 79 – 58 in a game that was mostly one-sided from the start. Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies have a women’s NCAA record nine national titles, surpassing Hall of Fame coach Pat Summit from the University of Tennessee who had won eight championships. Auriemma was gracious in defeat acknowledging, “Notre Dame is a great team…I knew if we played great we’d have a chance to win.”

The Lady Huskies beat Notre Dame 78 - 59 in a game where Stephanie Dolson (c) made her presence felt with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

The Lady Huskies beat Notre Dame 78 – 59 in a game where Stephanie Dolson (c) made her presence felt with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Connecticut finished the season 40 – 0 for the first time in school history. The 6’4″, Associated Press Player of the year, Breanna Stewart led the team with 21 points while her frontcourt mate Stefanie Dolson dominated the paint with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Notre Dame got spirited efforts from their leader Kayla McBride, who led the team with 21 points, but the Irish clearly missed their senior forward Natalie Achonwa who suffered a torn ACL earlier in the tournament.

While much was made before the game about the relationship between the coaches, both displayed humility after the game. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw congratulated UConn exclaiming, “I thought we were playing the Miami Heat for a while you guys are just that good.” There is plenty of celebrating going on in Storrs, Connecticut right now. 10 year after both UConn Men and Women teams becoming National Basketball Champions, they have repeated the feat . Congratulations!!–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Ollie, Napier lead Uconn men to fourth NCAA title, women next?

Senior point guard Shabazz Napier was awarded NCAA Tournament MVP as he  led UConn to a 60 - 54 victory over Kentucky Monday night.

Senior point guard Shabazz Napier was awarded Final Four Most Outstanding Player as he led UConn to a 60 – 54 victory over Kentucky Monday night.

By Charles Glover Jr.

The Connecticut Huskies completed their improbable run through the NCAA tournament to capture the NCAA title in a 60 – 54 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats on Monday night. The Huskies never trailed in the tightly contested game and there were plenty of big plays made by key members on both teams. Final Four Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier and back-court mate Ryan Boatright accounted for 36 of the team’s 60 points and controlled the tempo offensively and defensively throughout the game. As Napier coined them, “the hungry Huskies” were ready for everything Kentucky could throw at them.

Head coach Kevin Ollie (l) and Shabazz Napier (r) will forever be linked to this team's championship run.

UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie (l) and Point Guard Shabazz Napier (r) will forever be linked to this team’s championship run.

This championship marks the fourth in Uconn’s history for the men and the second time in four years the team ends the season with a win. Kevin Ollie becomes the first African-American head coach to lead his team to the title since Tubby Smith led Kentucky to the title in 1998. The first-time head coach pushed all the right buttons for his team in his second year as head coach. He believed in his team’s leader from the beginning of the season, stating:

“Shabazz is not only the best point guard in the country…the best leader in America!”

UConn celebrates their victory on the court.

UConn celebrates their victory on the court after playing hard and showing teamwork.

With former head coach Jim Calhoun in attendance, Ollie and his Huskies were able to restore the program to the acclaim it had since winning its first title in 1999. It has been exactly ten years since UConn accomplished winning the national basketball championship in the men and women’s game and there is a chance history repeats itself Tuesday night. Until then, congratulations to the Connecticut Huskies on their national championship and their exciting run in fulfilling their destiny.—.OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Men’s or Women’s NCAA basketball championship, which is more compelling?

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school's winning tradition on Monday night.

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school’s winning tradition on Monday night.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Monday night the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Men’s National Championship. On Tuesday night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will challenge the Connecticut Lady Huskies in the Women’s National Championship. Both games have intriguing stories that are sure to make the matchups entertaining.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead  the school to their second title in 3 years.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead the school to their second title in 3 years.

The men’s championship features two schools that have been very successful over the past fifteen years, yet neither team made the NCAA tournament last year. Kentucky features five freshmen, led by forward Julius Randle and guard Aaron Harrison. Harrison has become known for his late game heroics in this tournament. When asked about his confidence late in games he expressed, “You can’t be scared to miss…you want to be the guy that makes all the big shots.”

Connecticut is led by senior guard Shabazz Napier, a member of the 2011 National Championship team which was led by current Bobcat Kemba Walker. Napier displayed confidence in his team as he proclaimed, “We believe in each other and continue to believe…we are going to win. That is what we do.” On the sidelines, Kentucky’s coach John Calipari will be seeking his second national title in three attempts. Meanwhile, Kevin Ollie is in only his second season as a head coach and is already demonstrating his ability to lead the Huskies through difficult situations.

Notre Dame's senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

Notre Dame’s senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

The women’s championship features two schools that have been among the best over the past several years. Notre Dame gained national exposure when it was led over previous years by Skylar Diggins. However, this year’s team was led by recently injured senior forward Natalie Achonwa and senior guard Kayla McBride. Both players have been members of Notre Dame teams that have defeated UConn several times over the past few season but not in the NCAA tournament. UConn is looking to repeat as champions and win a record ninth national title. Led by junior forward Breanna Stewart, the Lady Huskies are likely to be favored to win as they have championship experience and their main contributors are healthy.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

The University of Connecticut is looking to make history as they can achieve a feat only once completed before (in 2004) in having both the men’s and women’s team win the national title in the same year. Both teams are aware of their unique opportunity. As Lady Huskies guard Bria Hartley describes, “Our men are excited for us and we’re doing the same for them…both teams worked hard this year.” Interestingly, the University of Louisville had a chance to accomplish this feat last year but was unsuccessful. Yet another intriguing reason to watch both national championship games.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.