A Step Up Atlanta 2017: Takeaways

A Step Up Atlanta 2017: Takeaways

Felicia and Johnny Allen more than delivered with their A Step Up Assistant Coaches Symposium this May! Through The Coaching Assist we had the privilege to speak with Felicia as well as some of the presenters prior to the symposium and at its conclusion there was no doubt in our minds that it was indeed, an investment in our futures. A special shout out to Angel Gray who did a tremendous job of adding value and moderating discussions throughout the week!

Not only were we able to grow as coaches in three days, but also we were able to connect and build relationships with others. After a brief presentation on The Coaching Assist Tuesday morning, we received interest from those who wanted to get involved. Be sure to check out our guest contributor bios at the bottom of the page! Together, we have compiled some of our takeaways from the symposium for two reasons:

1. We want to share how valuable this symposium is with those who could not attend.

2. We want to thank those who participated and reassure the presenters that what they spoke about truly has impacted us.

The coaching profession is one of relationships, sharing, and giving back. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this year’s symposium for making it a welcoming environment for growth.

Skills Clinic: Bob Starkey Shell Defense

“Bob Starkey was masterful in his ability to effectively engage by vary his coaching voice. He created urgency and intensity on the court with a powerful voice and could pull it back, creating a calm environment to make a teaching point.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

“Coach Starkey began his presentation by telling us that all Coaches need to teach their players two things in order to be successful: To think and to talk. Through various drills that create chaos similar to game like situations, he exemplified how to take your players to the next level and make them ‘figure it out'” -Megan Lueck

“Bob Starkey always does a great job. His ability to catch your attention with his great stories keeps you highly motivated. The way he teaches the game makes it very easy for you to revamp and take it back to your perspective program. If you work into your practice how to think and how to talk, you will have a successful program” -Jordan McCann

Skills Clinic: Ray McCallum Zone Offense

“As a Coach with 19 years of Head Coaching experience and a son in the NBA, Coach McCallum shared insight on keys to a championship winning zone offense. This included an emphasis on keeping posts below the zone, finding the open man in the short corner, and screening the zone to reach maximal offensive production.” -Megan Lueck

“Coach McCallum brought a different insight to attacking the zone. He had so many key points like, advancing the ball quickly and getting the ball in the middle or short corner to break down that zone. You could really tell his knowledge and liking of zone offense was very helpful.” -Jordan McCann

Skills Clinic: C. Y. Young Transition Offense

“This clinic was a fantastic example of how to teach a larger concept. Young was able to effectively show how to emphasize points with both humor and sincerity.” -Skylar Bareford

“CY did a great job translating what he wanted from the practice players in transition and painted a picture they could understand as players. The words Checkpoints, Escorts, & Concrete were some of the terminology he used to help translate what he wanted from the practice players in transition. The terminology was different, yet a very effective way for the practice players to realize the importance of what he was teaching them to do in transition.” -Tobias Pinson

“CY caught everyone’s attention from the moment he stepped on that court. The language that he spoke did not just help us as coaches understand what he was teaching but it also helped the practice players succeed in the drills. That is a huge advantage and I know the Florida State basketball program is very lucky to have him. I know one thing we will never forget, in that secondary break we have to score before the concrete gets hard!” -Jordan McCann

Search Firm: Eddie Fogler & Kevin Goll

“Eddie and Kevin gave great insight into what search firms are looking for during the interview process with coaches. You must be able to sell your vision in person during the interview and create a level of excitement for the job that other candidates cannot create. Avoid stating what you need to succeed, and state how you can succeed with what is at the institution already.” -Tobias Pinson

“As the coaching carousel continues to turn in the women’s basketball world, everyone continues to wonder why coaching selections are made as they are. Mr. Fogler and Mr. Goll gave tips beyond coaching for those interested in these types of positions in the future.  To me the biggest stand outs from their presentation was stating that no one is looking for a head coach any more, they are looking for CEO’s. As well, selecting coaches is very much an inexact science and greatly depends on who is doing the hiring in terms of what they are looking for.” -Megan Lueck

“This was a huge plus hearing both Eddie and Kevin speak to us. They were able to get us to understand that you have to be good at what you do. Many AD’s all over are looking for CEO’s and not specialists. You have to be able to see yourself and how you will change the program. You need to CONNECT, SERVE AND LOVE!”- Jordan McCann

Patricia Russell McCloud

“I don’t think anyone who had the privilege to hear her speak will ever forget her voice proclaiming “I dareeeeeee you!” to the audience. She was mesmerizing in the way she challenged each and every listener to get out and make a difference, referencing the quote, ‘The future started yesterday, and you’re already late.'” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

“I was totally speechless after Patricia Russell McCloud spoke. She is an outstanding human being. She really made me think about where I came from and what is my purpose in coaching. I know one thing I am here to stay! (I DOUBLE DARE YOOOOOUUUUUUUUU)-Jordan McCann

Meet and Greet Monday Night

“While sitting with a group of coaches who are early in their coaching journeys, Sunny Smallwood came over to introduce herself and talk with us. She is a true lifelong learner, always reaching out to others to get their perspective and visiting with coaches to learn how they teach specific aspects of the game. I thought this was a great example of how at A Step Up, coaches from various points in their coaching careers have the ability to connect and learn from each other.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

“I had bumped into Shannon Perry and, both of us being believers, had an in-depth, heartfelt discussion about our respective career paths. I was really impressed with how Shannon stepped away from coaching, convinced she would not return, but allowed God to guide her steps which ultimately lead her back into the profession. She navigated through the unknown by placing her trust in God and I am in a similar situation right now. The conversation really hit home and her story really brought a sense of comfort and reassurance to my life.” – Lindsay Scarlatelli

Amie Smith Bradley: Transitioning from Non-Traditional Roles to Coaching

“Coach Amie Smith Bradley used her unique story and career path to keep us engaged and informed on navigating the ups and downs, twists and turns, of the profession. “PIVOT” – Process matters; Invest in yourself; Value others; Overcome obstacles; Tell your story. Your title does not matter; you cannot think you’re a failure just because you don’t have the title that you want.” – Lindsay Scarlatelli

“Coach Bradley was beyond impressive to me not only because of what she said but because of who she is. As a mother of five and an assistant coach at SMU she prioritizes time for professional development through reading and attending/presenting at Symposium’s such as A Step Up. Using a concept from her presentation, Coach Bradley is clearly not creating just a routine or a schedule with her career but she is intentionally building a map for others to follow and navigate to success behind her.” -Megan Lueck

Round Tables

“At our ‘team building’ table, I enjoyed hearing from Coach Camille Collier from Jacksonville who spoke about an activity that dug into the more vulnerable and personal side of team building. Her players participated in a “mirror exercise” where they had to face themselves and answer prompts from the coaches. It allowed them a safe environment to face underlying issues, be honest, and open up to themselves and their teammates.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

Johnnie Harris & Sytia Messer: What it Takes to Sustain a Championship Program and Mindset

“Coach Harris repeated, ‘It’s not what we do, it is how we do it.’ Both Coach Messer and Coach Harris were transparent in the ‘how’ at their respective programs. Establish what you do and how you do it early on. Additionally, both players and coaches need a “refresh button” during the season. Don’t burn either one out.” -Lindsay Scarlatelli

“So often as coaches we wish our players would talk more. Coach Harris shared with us a great example of  how she let a player follow her around for a day to help teach her how to talk and what to say to her teammates. I thought this exemplified a great way to teach a skill, rather than simply demanding an end result.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

Jolette Law & Robert Dallimore: Recruiting – Using What You’ve Got and Delivering More Than Expected

“Touch base and connect with your ‘AAU’ coaches network before you need them. This will allow your name to remain fresh in their mind, build a relationship with them and in return the relationship could give you early scoops and inside information on players when recruiting” -Tobias Pinson

“One line that stuck with me from this talk was ‘Everyone communicates, few connect.” It is clear Coach Dallimore owns his personality and embraces his style of connecting with recruits, which has proven successful. I enjoyed his ‘Tricky Tuesday’ strategy, explaining how he would send recruits riddles. Additionally, ending a text with a question helps open the door for recruits to engage in the conversation.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

“‘Set your own bar and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it’ is what motivates Coach Law, and she urged us to do the same. You create your own standard for success. Understand the generation you are recruiting – be a great listener and learn to speak their language.” -Lindsay Scarlatelli

Tony Newnan & Al Brown: Player Development – Developing Talent – Getting them to Buy In

“Coach Newnan showed some of the UCLA staff player development pieces which were extremely positive. Knowing the success of their team, it is inspiring to see the impact this has had. It reminded me that taking the time to add the extra bit of encouragement, especially in written word for players, is always worth it.” -Skylar Bareford

“I really enjoyed how both Coach Newnan and Coach Brown emphasized the concept of ‘catch it early’ when it comes to player confidence. Whether it’s a freshman who is adapting to the pace of college play or a veteran who is entering a shooting slump, they both aim to help that player before the lack of confidence grows.” -Kaitlyn Cresencia

C.Y. Young & Ray McCallum: Lessons Learned – Know the Program, Know What’s Expected, Be the Difference

“CY talked about how he helped take one of his shooters from being a 28% shooter from 3 to 41% shooter from 3. Spent 45 min in the morning and 45 min at night with him. In simplest terms, he helped the player take his shot from an arrow type trajectory when going to the rim, into more of a rainbow type trajectory going into the rim. Aiming up and in the rim instead of a close to flat line shot trajectory” -Tobias Pinson

“CY Young, once again, hit a homerun in his presentation of information. Take care of the job that you have. Impact winning at the program you are at – take pride and make that impact at every program you touch. If you want to separate yourself, put yourself in the head coach’s shoes. You have to think like a head coach.” -Lindsay Scarlatelli

Vivian Stringer: Lessons from a Legend

“Listening to Coach Stringer share her legendary experiences as a Hall of Fame Coach was outstanding to me. She tackled real issues in our game such as; is balance really attainable for coaches and is that acceptable? I was captivated by hearing her real and honest thoughts on the state of the game and was grateful for the wisdom she shared.” -Megan Lueck

Al Brown, Bob Starkey, Lin Dunn: Let’s Talk Basketball X’s and O’s

“I appreciated that all these storied coaches were interested in talking candidly about different philosophies and strategies of concepts. They also really encouraged a coach’s creativity, especially in drill preparation.” -Skylar Bareford

“Coaches Brown, Starkey and Dunn spent their time not giving plays or defenses to the late night audience that was anxiously waiting to learn from them, but taught young coaches how to build their own philosophies and think through how they can find successful strategies. I appreciated their approach and found new ways to critically think about my strategic planning.” -Megan Lueck

Veronica Mullen & Dr. Belen Gutter: The Sport Injury We Need to Talk About – Mental Health

“Mental health is a very important piece to overall well-being, not just for the student-athlete but coaches as well. What message does your program send about mental health and wellness? Anxiety and depression are the most common untreated areas of mental health. Engage in prevention and early identification.” -Lindsay Scarlatelli

“Veronica Mullen and Dr. Gutter gave a very necessary and real look at how mental health specifically affects athletes and coaches today. They facilitated a crucial conversation on how we can spot and support those with mental health issues. Recognition, awareness and finding the correct help are essential and their brave and candid presentation provided resources that will help countless others.” -Megan Lueck

Teri Moren & Vic Schaefer: Building a Winning Program- What to Bring to Your Boss, Your Colleagues, and Your Student-Athletes

“Coach Moren and Coach Schaefer left us with many valuable nuggets. Some of which were, 1) Trust is earned with your boss over time. Assistants need to be patient. 2) What is your culture about? Core values need to be discussed and live daily, not just posted on a wall. 3) We ask kids to be leaders but they don’t know how to lead. What are we doing to teach/show them how to lead?” -Lindsay Scarlatelli

“Coach Moren and Coach Schaefer gave us coaches some great insight. Loyalty is everything, if you can’t be loyal then you might as well leave. You have to stay curious and be a long lifetime leader. Try to see your kids outside of the jersey if you want to build that championship program. You have to get your kids ready to be a Pro in the workplace.” -Jordan McCann

Conversation with Athletic Administrators

“Get to know your athletic administrators. They talk and communicate with each other a lot when open jobs need filling at their institutions!” -Tobias Pinson

“What a powerful stage of women! Three main takeaways I took away from them are:

  1. Relationship with Administration is a two way street, get to know them and communication is key!
  2. The busiest person in your office is a problem solver.
  3. Time and place are very important for landing a job and play into the “inexact science” that Mr. Goll and Mr. Fogler referred to earlier at the Symposium” -Megan Lueck

Meet Our Guest Contributors:


IMG_4216.JPGSkylar Bareford: Senior Woman Administrator/Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Greenville College

Why do you want to coach? I am passionate about using women’s basketball to equip young women for lives of servant leadership and personal success through cultivating attitudes of responsibility, courage, and gratefulness.

Why did you decide to attend A Step Up? I attended A Step Up because of the positive things I had heard about the program and the things that I understood Felicia Hall Allen & Associates to stand for. I was not disappointed!


TobiasTobias Pinson: Assistant Coach – USC-Upstate

Why do you want to coach? Honestly I just love the game of basketball. The opportunity to mentor life lessons through the game of basketball is a dream come true for me.

Why did you decide to attend A Step Up? The opportunity to network, get out of my comfort zone and grow, and learn from colleagues I admire in the industry is what draws me to attend A Step Up.


D3015 Womens Basketball HeadshotsLindsay Scarlatelli

Why do you want to coach? I wanted to be in this profession because I wanted to positively impact young women at the most important stages of their life and basketball was the vehicle to do so because of my love for the game.

Why did you decide to attend A Step Up? This was my third time attending A Step Up and I will continue to go back when I can because of the valuable information and more intimate learning setting.


coachjJordan McCann: Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach

Why do you want to coach? I want to be apart of the coaching world to help grow our game and have to opportunity to help young women succeed on and off the court. I could not imagine doing anything else in this world.

Why did you decide to attend A Step Up? I decided to attend A Step Up for the second year to grow as a young thriving coach in our game and also meet more coaches that share the same mindset of expanding as coaches and going above and beyond.


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