Charlotte, NC - Johnson & Wales University Director of Athletics Trudi Lacey recently had the honor of representing JWU Athletics at Camp LaPantha in Bamako, Mali. The former WNBA Charlotte Sting player, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba invited her former WNBA coach to teach basketball skills, life skills, and develop coaches during a week-long camp.
Camp LaPantha was named after Maiga-Ba's mother who was a Mali National basketball team member and a high jumper. Aminata Fofana, nicknamed "La Pantha", passed away in 2008 from cancer. Camp LaPantha had a total of 153 campers including Special Olympics athletes and 45 coaches.
The Hamchetou Maiga-Ba Foundation's mission is to teach basketball skills, encourage education, and teach the life lesson of inclusion. Lacey said, "I am so honored to have had the opportunity to join Maiga on this beautiful journey of making a difference in young people's lives. Her vision aligns with the vision of JWU Athletics in helping develop young people for success on the field/court and in life."
Maiga stated, "It is a tremendous honor having Coach Trudi with us during Camp LaPantha. Our campers and coaches got to experience firsthand her knowledge and love for basketball. Thank you Coach for sharing with us!"
Since Lacey joined JWU as AD three years ago, the athletic department has won two national championships, had two runner-up finishes, and nine total tournament appearances. JWU has produced 28 USCAA All-Americans and 37 National All-Academic Team selections in that span.