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February 8, 2000

Sears To Provide Funding For NACDA's John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards

CLEVELAND -- The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has secured the support of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in providing funding for the recently formed John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards.

Sears will contribute $20,000 to the program this year. Sears joins the team of Host Communications and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

The awards will be presented to minority senior students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in athletics administration. Each of the five annual recipients will receive a $10,000 grant. The program will be administered by the NACDA Foundation. NACDA initiated the program with funding of $250,000 from proceeds from the Kickoff and Pigskin Classics.

"Reaching out to help fund the academic scholarships with NACDA complements the Sears Directors' Cup program we both support, says John Lebbad, director of event marketing and sales promotion for Sears. "Through the John McLendon program, Sears is helping to recognize and contribute to excellence in education."

Sears is also the sponsor of NACDA's Sears Directors' Cup program. Developed as a joint effort between NACDA and USA Today, the Sears Directors' Cup program is the only all-sports competition that recognizes the institution in each of the four collegiate divisions with the best overall athletics program. The Sears Directors' Cup, now in its seventh year, is part of the Sears Collegiate Champions program, which annually awards more than 2,200 trophies and more than a quarter of a million dollars in academic scholarships.

Nominations will be solicited for the inaugural year of the program, in 1999-2000, with the first recipients receiving their awards at the NACDA Convention, which will be held in Orlando, Florida at DisneyWorld in June 2000.

Among the criteria will be (1) full-time status as a senior at the time of nomination; (2) minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale); (3) official classification as a minority as defined by federal guidelines; (4) intention to attend graduate school to earn a degree in athletics administration; and (5) involvement on the college/university or community level.

Top administrators in the field of athletics will vote upon the finalists, while a panel of leaders in the fields of business, sports, entertainment and politics will select the overall winners.

"We are pleased Sears has joined the effort to provide funding for the John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards," says NACDA President Dave Hart, Jr., director of athletics at Florida State University. "This scholarship program will be beneficial to every aspect of athletics, including colleges and universities, professional sports and corporations involved in the field. Students who benefit from these scholarships may one day be running intercollegiate athletics programs."

In addition to the scholarships, one recipient each year will be offered the opportunity to serve a nine-month internship in the NACDA office.

The scholarship is named for John McLendon, who is the person responsible for the integration of college basketball. He was the first Black coach hired by a predominately White institution when he was selected as the basketball coach at Cleveland State University in 1966. Throughout the years, he has served as the head basketball coach at North Carolina Central College (1940-52), Hampton Institute (1952-54), Tennessee State University (1954-59), Kentucky State University (1963-66) and Cleveland State University (1966-69).

As successful McLendon has been as a coach, his administrative responsibilities have been equally as impressive. It was his service on the National Athletic Steering Committee, which McLendon founded in 1949, which had a large impact on the integration of basketball, and eventually, all sports. While serving as the basketball coach at North Carolina Central, McLendon was also the athletics director, a post he held for 12 years. At Hampton, he had additional positions as the assistant director of athletics and physical education. At Tennessee State, McLendon was appointed director of basketball operations from 1954-59 and director of the department of health, physical education, recreation and athletics from 1962-63.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of more than $41 billion. The company serves families throughout the country through more than 850 department stores, 2,100 specialized retail locations and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's web site, www.sears.com.

The NACDA Foundation, founded in 1982, sponsors internship opportunities for aspiring athletics administrators at NACDA's national office and administers the distribution of NACDA?s scholarship programs. It also provides educational opportunities for NACDA members through a variety of workshops, clinics and seminars. Since 1982, the Foundation has awarded more than $7.6 million in scholarships. Funding for the Foundation comes from the Kickoff Classic and Pigskin Classic, whose proceeds also help fund the National Football Foundation and the American Football Coaches Association. These two games annually generate close to $500,000 in scholarships.