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November 13, 2001

Sears Continues Support of NACDA's John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards

Cleveland, Ohio -- For the third consecutive year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has secured the support of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in providing funding for the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards.

Sears will contribute an additional $40,000 to the program this year. Sears began its support of the program in 1999 with a contribution of $20,000, an amount it matched in 2000. This brings Sears three-year total to $80,000, making the retailer the largest corporate contributor to the program.

Other contributors have included adidas America, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Cleveland Cavs/Gund Arena Company, Eddie Robinson Foundation, ESPN Regional Television, Host Communications, Mellon Private Asset Management, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), National Athletic Steering Committee (NASC), SpecialTee Events and the Sports Media Association of Cleveland and Ohio (SMACO).

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

"Together with NACDA, Sears is able to make a difference in the lives of these minority students," said John Lebbad, Sears director of event marketing and sales promotion. "For many years, Sears has provided academic scholarships through our Sears Collegiate Champions program."

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 ninth 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.

Scholarship recipients for 2001-02 will receive their awards at the NACDA Convention, which will be held in Dallas, Texas at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel, June 16-19, 2002.

Among the criteria is full-time status as a senior at the time of nomination; minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale); official classification as a minority as defined by federal guidelines; intention to attend graduate school to earn a degree in athletics administration; and involvement on the college/ university or community level. Top administrators in the field of athletics vote upon the finalists, while a panel of leaders in the fields of business, sports, entertainment and politics selects the overall winners.

"We are proud to have Sears as our largest corporate contributor in funding for the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards," says NACDA President Bill Bradshaw, director of athletics at DePaul University. "Sears has played an integral role in supporting NACDA's awards and scholarship programs."

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 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 was as a coach, his administrative responsibilities were 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. McLendon passed away in 1999.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of more than $40 billion. The company serves families throughout the U.S. through Sears stores nationwide, including approximately 860 full-line stores. Sears also offers a wide variety of merchandise and services through its 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 close to $10 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.

Contact: Laurie Garrison
 Assistant Executive Director, Communications
 440/892-4000
 440/892-4007 (Fax)
 E-mail: lgarrison@nacda.com
 Web Site: www.nacda.com