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NCAA Achieving Coaching Excellence Program

The AAE/NCAA Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE) Program provides a yearlong professional development opportunity, in collaboration with the Advocates for Athletic Equity (AAE), formerly the Black Coaches Association. The ACE Program is for current NCAA intercollegiate men’s basketball and women’s basketball coaches identified as potential head coaching candidates in the next two to three years. These select participants learn a realistic view of the preparation it takes to become a head basketball coach in intercollegiate athletics.

Participants encounter a series of pre-work and continuing education expertly crafted to develop the leadership and core skills necessary to obtain a head coaching position in the future. Sessions over the three-day program at the NCAA national office provide participants the realistic role and preparation necessary to take the next step in becoming a head coach at the college level. Simulating the various formats of the interview process serve as core curriculum, along with exposure to key decisions makers (current and former head coaches, university presidents, conference executives, directors of athletics, search firms) in the industry and gaining a better understanding of the role of search firms in the process. The learning allows coaches to clearly define their coaching philosophies, develop their coaching book and establish best practices for enhancing student-athlete well being.

The 2015 AAE/NCAA ACE Program will take place on June 9-11 at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.

Recent participants of ACE Program include University of Wisconsin, Madison head coach Bobbie Kelsey, University of Cincinnati head coach Jamelle Elliott, Davidson University head coach Michele Savage, Vassar College head coach Candice Brown and University of Rhode Island head coach Daynia La-Force.

Eligibility/Selection Profile

NCAA administrators and current head coaches nominate participants viewed as the leaders of the next generation of college basketball head coaches. Eligible participants must be a racial/ethnic minority, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited NCAA college or university, be currently employed at an NCAA member institutions, and available to attend any and all program sessions. Male applicants must have at least five (5) years of full-time collegiate coaching experience while female applicants must have at least three (3) years of full-time collegiate coaching experience.

The optimal participant:

  • Demonstrates ability to understand college basketball with a “30,000-foot view,” its role within higher education, and the CEO duties of a head coach
  • Demonstrates ability to clearly communicate/articulate personal coaching philosophy and vision for a basketball program to key stakeholders (university administration, donors, media, student-athletes, etc.)
  • Has management experience or management potential (has managed staff previously)
  • Has called plays or is directly involved in game planning
  • Is a highly effective recruiter
  • Quickly climbed coaching ladder and appears primed to become head coach (even if other criteria not met)

Contact Us

For more information about the AAE/NCAA ACE Program, please contact Curtis J. Hollomon, director of leadership development, via email at or by phone at 317-917-6324.