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Naismith Coaches Circle

Honoring the First Coach

The Naismith Coaches Circle Program honors the first coach, Dr. James Naismith and pays tribute to the core values he taught – Teamwork, Cooperation, Leadership, Perseverance, and Integrity. These principles are the foundation by which young men and women play the game and conduct their lives – on and off the court.

With the Coaches Circle Program, the Basketball Hall of Fame honors his vision by providing a pathway for today’s coaches to leave a legacy to those who inspired them.  We share stories of their meaningful relationships and how their lives have been impacted by these inspirations. 

Far too often, these incredible connections are left untold. Trough this exhibit we share the stories of the mentor-coach relationship and the compassion coaches have for their players.

Now we have a way to preserve the personal history of the Coaches and share these stories for future generations. 



Coaches who are recognized in the Naismith Coaches Circle Exhibit.

Bold, Dark Blue Text = Legacy Exhibits (Benches created in honor/tribute by friends, family, players, and colleagues of the person.)

Steve Alford

 Dana Altman

 Geno Auriemma

Jim Boeheim

Mike Brey

 Larry Brown

 Jim Calhoun

 John Calipari

Jeff Capel

Jody Conradt

Denny Crum

 Jamie Dixon

 Billy Donovan

Dan Fegan 

Mark Few

Bill Fitch 

Cotton Fitzsimmons

Dave Gavitt

Tim "GRG" Grgurich

Leonard Hamilton

Sylvia Hatchell

Bob Huggins

Tom Izzo

Lon Kruger 

Mike Krzyzewski

John MacLeod

Dan Majerle

Frank Martin

Rollie Massimino

George Raveling

Bo Ryan

Bill Self

Dean Smith

Tubby Smith

C. Vivian Stringer

Pat Summitt

John Thompson, Jr.

Jim Valvano

Dick Vitale

Glenn Wilkes

Gary Williams

 Roy Williams

John Wooden 

Jay Wright

Tom Young

Kay Yow  


Courtyard Unveiling Ceremony


The Statue of James Naismith is unveiled as part of the Coaches Circle at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.


Jim Naismith, grandson of Dr. James Naismith, sits on the Coaches Circle Statue, during the unveiling ceremony.


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Coach John Calipari, Hall of Fame Class of 2015 and Naismith Coaches Circle participant, unveils his bench dedication for the first time.


Today, under the core values of The First Coach, the Naismith statue is inscribed with inspirational quotes from some of basketball's famous coaches.



Decorating the courtyard, these granite benches pay tribute to those coaches who joined the Naismith Coaches Circle Program. These coaches have taught and inspired so many while positively effecting communities and society in a meaningful way. 


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For more information or to participate in the Naismith Coaches Circle program, please contact Scott Zuffelato, the Hall of Fame’s Vice President of Philanthropy, at (413) 231-5506 or by email: [email protected].