Monday, September 26, 2011

Call them GREAT

We are in the third week of the Legacy League fall instructional season. The first baseball games are this upcoming weekend. Several blogs have been posted by our Leaders recording their Legacy League experience. Coaches have developed life long relationships with young men and their family. Baseball skills have been developed that will provide access to college.

It is an honor to be the founder of L.E.A.D. because I play a major role in the future success of hundreds of inner city African-American middle and high school males every month throughout the entire year.

Our young men are called Leaders because that's what Atlanta needs them to be. L.E.A.D.'s four pillars of excellence are academics, athletics, service and exposure. We achieve success because we are available to our Leaders and our programming is consistent. They are assets to this city. They only lack a sense of belonging and investment to the city

I know that they aren't all great students. I know that some have disciplinary issues at the school. On this past Saturday, they were all called young men of greatness because they were able to serve.

L.E.A.D. has adopted Section 8 of the Atlanta BeltLine and our Leaders were responsible for maintaining it. For some, it was their first time being involved with service. Through their involvement with L.E.A.D., it won't be their last because we offer service to the city of Atlanta once per month every month throughout the year. Last year alone, we recorded over 2.200 hours of community service as an organization.

Atlanta's own Dr. Martin Luther King once said that everybody can be great because everybody can serve. Join our Leaders for October's day of service. Check us out at for our upcoming game/practice schedule, blogs, service projects, enrichment opportunities and more.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Time for a change

I'm often asked why the number of African Americans are declining in baseball at the college and professional levels. 

As a player development professional in the baseball industry, I'm expected to say it's because of a lack of professional player development resources. I'm obviously biased, but this is also very true. 

Parallel the baseball industry to education. What happens when you build the finest schools, equip them with the best state of the art resources money can buy and then open the doors and tell the children to have at it? No teachers, no professors; just lots of expensive stuff that looks good. 

What happens is this: less than 8% of African Americans competing at the professional levels and less than 6% at the college levels. 

It's time for a change in the way we approach this solution.

L.E.A.D. provides that change. Through curriculum based year round programming derived from a proven methodology, my organization has successfully provided inner city, African American youth with the professional player development resources necessary to compete for college baseball scholarships. You see, new equipment and uniforms are nice and they definitely play a role in the solution, but I don't value a bat, ball or jersey over my professional coaching staff. L.E.A.D.'s professional coaching staff is the knowledge source that helps our young men understand how to use the glove to field the ball properly, how to use the bat to bunt or hit opposite field and how to wear their uniforms properly and with pride. Those things can't transfer knowledge on their own. I mean, I have never seen a baseball glove explain to a player how to use it or a ball explain to a pitcher how to throw certain pitches. 

For over four years now, 100% of L.E.A.D.'s Ambassadors graduate from high school, enroll in college and 89% have received college baseball scholarship opportunities. And by the way, these young men also complete over 2,000 hours of community service annually.

From where we're standing...change is good.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's going down at 6:00PM today

Leadership is an action word. It is also a commitment that requires sacrifice. L.E.A.D. provides countless amount of leadership opportunities that we measure throughout the entire year.  As an organization, we easily record over 2,000 hours of community service annually since 2007.

Our student-athletes are required to participate in a service opportunity at least once per month every month throughout the year in order to remain eligible as a L.E.A.D. program participant. You can't be an effective leader if you aren't serving others.

Leadership is mentorship.  To date, 28 L.E.A.D. Ambassadors have graduated from our program and are currently enrolled in college. They are more than names in our history book. They remain engaged. In order for our young men to understand the road ahead, they must ask those coming back.

L.E.A.D. offers a pipeline for youth development that starts with elementary school and goes all the way to top to me. Our college alumni mentor the high school Leaders.  The high school Leaders mentor the middle school Leaders and the lives of Atlanta APS elementary students are enriched by our middle schoolers.  Leadership is an action word. It is also a commitment that requires sacrifice.

The "D" in L.E.A.D. reminds us as an organization to direct our student-athletes using the historical journey of past African-Americans as the roadmap. Is there a better city in America with such a rich legacy of leadership than Atlanta - the home of the Civil Rights Movement?

At 6:00PM today, I along with my wife Kelli Stewart will be officially introducing 60 Legacy middle and high school League Leaders to the city of Atlanta at the Atlanta Public Schools Main Office. These young men represent their families, the Atlanta Public School System and their community with great pride.

They will have the opportunity of a lifetime to develop this fall professionally both on the field and off. L.E.A.D.'s four pillars of excellence are Academics, Athletics, Service and Exposure. You can bet your last dollar that we are excellent!

I will follow up at 9:00PM after the ceremony.

I couldn't help but break down with tears when I gave the end remarks. To look out in the audience into the eyes of 60 student-athletes that have committed to my vision of L.E.A.D. was overwhelming.

We were joined by APS School Board President Brenda Muhammad, Atlanta Braves Director of Community Affairs Ericka Newsome-Hill, Georgia's Own Credit Union Business Development Manager Julee Brunson, Georgia's Own Credit Union's Vivian English, APS Athletic Director Jeff Beggs and APS Middle School Program Director Rendell Jackson.

Special thanks to our parents, board members, supporters, staff and of course our Legacy League Leaders for making this a memorable night.

Come join us for an upcoming practice, game, enrichment activity and/or service project. We are always looking for energetic members for our L.E.A.D. Tailgate Club. For more information, click here..

L.E.A.D. Today...Change Tomorrow!

Monday, September 12, 2011

We ready!

My parents are ready. My coaches are ready. My Leaders are ready. Let's go!

We are a little over three hours away from our first fall Legacy League practice. We consider every practice to be an event because we aim to provide a positive experience for everybody involved. 

Day 1 will consist of assessments according to my fall curriculum. I have developed some of the best baseball players in the major leagues by first assessing their strengths and weaknesses.  The assessment also holds our coaching staff accountable because we measure improvement throughout the fall and coaches are graded as well.

We have 60 middle and high school student-athletes that want to use baseball to access college. If the young men have made it this far in our application process, we owe them the best professional baseball development opportunity. 

Year round baseball is in the inner city of Atlanta. We ready!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Contrary to popular belief, baseball is an individual sport played in a team concept.  Since childhood, I have always heard that there is no "I" in team.  According to Webster's dictionary that is true but in order to have a successful team, each individual has a has to be at its best.

For the 2011 Legacy League fall season, we have adopted a theme that we hope will foster a winning culture for our Leaders both on and off the field. the theme that I thought of that will serve as a reminder to over achieve to our Leaders, their parents, our coaching staff and supporters.

If I wake up every morning striving to be my best, we as an organization will be our best.  Students being enthused and respectful in the classroom will allow L.E.A.D. to send more student-athletes to college on scholarship.  Being on time and prepared for each practice will allow L.E.A.D. to win more games on the field.  Being willing to serve our community will allow our community to become all that we desire.  Being exposed to the best of Atlanta allows Atlanta to benefit from our investment in it.

The time is now!  If not now, when?  If not me, who?  Be your best and we will be our best!