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Mike Tomlin Teams Up with NC Central Coach to Back Minority Hoops Coaches



Steelers Mike Tomlin

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is teaming up with North Carolina Central men’s head basketball coach LeVelle Moton to launch an initiative to help young minority men’s and women’s basketball coaches gain opportunities to advance their careers.

“The Next Up” conference aims to identify Black and minority coaches who could benefit from relationships with decision-makers and executives across the collegiate landscape. It will be held May 30-31 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“It’s not only a moral obligation, but a social responsibility to leave the game and our vocation better than we found it,” Tomlin said in a statement to ESPN.

“[Tomlin] and I were talking about our careers, trajectory and challenges,” Moton added. “We noticed the landscape had changed because of the addition of search firms and hiring practices. Mike wanted to plant coaching seeds for trees that we’ll never see grow. So ‘Next Up’ was born to connect and familiarize Black and minority coaches with presidents, athletic directors, search firms and potential employers.”

Moton and Tomlin have been close friends for over a decade. They met through Kentucky men’s head basketball coach John Calipari, who’s a Pittsburgh native and regular guest at Steelers training camp. In 2010, Moton wore a Steelers hoodie to a basketball tournament in Orlando, Florida, catching the eye of Calipari. After discussing the Steelers’ season outlook with Moton, Calipari suggested that he should meet Tomlin and passed Moton’s number along.

Moton talked about his relationship with Tomlin in an interview with Andscape, formerly known as The Undefeated, in January of 2022.

“The one coach that’s opened the door and mentored me more than anybody hasn’t been a basketball coach, it’s Mike Tomlin,” Moton said. “From the first time we talked, we just instantly clicked. We had so much in common. We come from humble beginnings; our moms worked extremely hard to provide for us. We bust our butts to get where we are [and] no one really believed in us. So, you had to kick some doors down and prove yourself.”