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Naismith Coaches Circle

Honoring the First Coach

The Naismith Coaches Circle has been created to honor the First Coach, Dr. James Naismith and to pay tribute to the core values he taught – Teamwork, Sportsmanship, Physical Fitness, Leadership, 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.

The Coaches Circle Program has been created by the Basketball Hall of Fame to recognize those coaches that have impacted their communities, players, other coaches, and society in a positive manner.

Far too often, these incredible stories are left untold. The stories of the mentor-coach relationship; the story of compassion coaches have for their players; the story of a coach impacting a community. Now these stories and so many more will be made available through the Naismith Coaches Circle Program.





Current participants to the Naismith Coaches Circle program who continue to inspire on and off the court:

Steve Alford

 Dana Altman

 Geno Auriemma

Jim Boeheim

Mike Brey

 Larry Brown

 Jim Calhoun

 John Calipari

Jeff Capel

 Rick Carlisle

Denny Crum

 Jamie Dixon

 Billy Donovan

Dan Fegan (honored by Rick Carlisle)

 Mark Few

Bill Fitch (honored by Rick Carlisle)

Cotton Fitzsimmons (honored by Jerry Colangelo and Phil Knight)

Leonard Hamilton

 Bob Huggins


Tom Izzo

Lon Kruger 

Mike Krzyzewski

John MacLeod (honored by Jerry Colangelo)

 Dan Majerle

Frank Martin

George Raveling

 Bo Ryan

Bill Self

Tubby Smith

C. Vivian Stringer

 Pat Summitt (honored by Mannie Jackson and Jim Vinick)

John Thompson, Jr.

Dick Vitale

Glenn Wilkes (honored by Art Sullivan)

Gary Williams

 Roy Williams

 Jay Wright


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: