TopConnect was born over 15 years ago as a project to connect future leaders with current leaders. Initially launched as Villa 7, the TopConnect program has evolved into a valuable resource for professionals in the current climate of sports, athletics and leadership in general to foster dialogue between individuals that continually strive to effectively lead people, programs and organizations.
Letter to ADs
As you probably knew, in the early 2000’s when I was Athletic Director at VCU, I started a professional development and networking initiative for basketball assistant coaches and Mid-major Athletic Directors called Villa 7. This program involved many of today’s Head Basketball Coaches including names like Buzz Williams, Shaka Smart, Anthony Grant, Mike Hopkins, John Groce to name a few. After coming out of retirement, I was asked to resurrect Villa 7 and did so under the name of TopConnect. In the two years since TopConnect has been in operation, we have two wonderful symposia with over 60 assistant coaches and numerous Athletic Directors taking part.
With the current pandemic, I have had to cancel this summer’s event but realized there is a major opportunity to use technology to enhance the experience and create new opportunities to meet the objectives of Villa 7 and TopConnect. Both Villa 7 and TopConnect provide the following benefits:
- Help prepare the next generation of leadership in the world of college basketball by providing useful and interesting content
- Connect qualified and talented assistant coaches with Mid-major athletic directors to build a networking connection between the two.
- Develop the network of administrators and coaches who can use the connection to assist them in both their careers and current responsibilities while enhancing their leadership profile.
Today is a great time where the next generation of leadership in college athletics can enhance their leadership potential, build their network of influencers and mentors and work on their professional development. Since our in person event has been cancelled, I am in the process of finalizing a model that will not only provide those assistant coaches and administrators the benefits mentioned above, but also provide some new and different values through technology.
As an athletic director, I think we all feel an obligation to help talented and deserving young professionals in their career development. I hope that you would invest in future by participating in this Year’s virtual TopConnect (With that in mind, I am asking you to recommend a young talented administr. The program is very selective with the purpose of preparing the next generation of college athletic leadership and really only for those who you feel have the absolute potential to lead a division 1 Athletic Program.)
Fortunately I have had many AD’s support TopConnect and be part of the program. Wood Selig (ODU), Mark Benson (Albany), Sherryta Freeman (Lafayette), Desiree Reed-Francois (UNLV), Mike Cappacio (Citadel), Robert Lineburg (Radford), Jeff Konya (Northeastern), Mark Wharton (Chattanooga), John Hartman (Utah State), Kim Record (UNCG), Martin Newton (Samford), Jim Senter (UTEP), Ziggy Siegfried (Cal State Bakersfield) and Tim Duncan (UNO) and many others have been involved and a big part of why this program has been a success.
If you could just drop me a quick email to let me know you would be interested in a participating , I will get back with you quickly. (I would appreciate your recommendation on who on your staff would be the right person to be part of this exciting initiative. I can assure you that they will gain significant value from TopConnect both career wise and with their current responsibilities.)
For your information, there is no cost to anyone participating. All presenters and involved parties are doing this with no charge because they believe in our mission.