A local coach was recently honored with a prestigious award.
On Monday, May 24, the Jr. Knicks announced that Clarence “Mugsy” Legget had been named 2021 Jr. Knicks Coach of the Year — an award given to a youth coach who has made an impact on his players as well as the community.
Currently the executive director of the Wiz Kids basketball program, as well as the director of the SCAN Afterschool Program, Legget has always made it a mission to make a positive impact on youth during his basketball coaching career, which began in the early 1990s.
Legget grew up in Edenwald and quickly developed an appreciation for the benefits which were provided to him, through a combination of academics and athletic skills which he would use on the basketball court.
Shortly after he began coaching basketball, Clarence started a basketball recreation program in the Bronx, with only volunteers and members of his family.
Soon enough, the program “Wiz Kids” caught on in the community and began expanding to various gymnaiums and outside basketball courts throughout the borough.
Along with his three decades of coaching experience, Clarence also spend time traveling with the Harlem Wizards, an independent entertainment basketball team which previously featured hometown NBA greats such as Nate “Tiny” Archibald and Connie Hawkins.
The Jr. Knicks Coach of the Year award, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery, will provide a grant to Coach Legget’s youth basketball program, the ‘Wiz Kids’.
Coach Legget was nominated for the award by hundreds of youth basketball coaches throughout the five boroughs and the tri-state area.
“I am humbled and honored to be named the Jr. Knicks Coach of the Year,” said Mr. Legget. “I cannot believe that, after 30 years of coaching, I am receiving this award. It feels great, although I never did it for the recognition.”
As the Jr. Knicks Coach of the Year, Coach Legget will receive a $10,000 equipment donation to his youth basketball organization, as well as a $5,000 donation towards facility rental costs and a $2,000 donation to his Wiz Kids youth basketball organization.
“These funds will help continue to build my community and give the kids in my program access to opportunities they could have only dreamed of before,” Legget said.
The award presentation, which was held at his team’s practice at Baychester Middle School, also included a surprise visit from former New York Knicks’ player John Starks, a fan favorite who played eight seasons for the Knicks, from 1990-98.
The second and third place winners will also receive funding towards their respective youth basketball organizations.
“This award honors the exceptional work of Coach Clarence Legget, an outstanding mentor who exemplifies the qualties of leadership and integrity – both on and off the court,” said Louis A. Shapiro. “These qualities are so important because they play a key role in allowing us to succeed – especially in challenging situations.”
The Jr. Knicks youth basketball program teaches basketball to boys and girls, ages 5-14, showing them the fundamentals of the sport while also instilling the core values of basketball and life – teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.
The SCAN-Harbor program also serves underpriveledged youth, as well as their families, from 22 program locations in the south Bronx and East Harlem by providing after school programs, community centers and family/social services.
The winner of the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year will be announced on the week of Monday, July 19.