Dr. Becky Clark

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  China

Becky Clark, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist (LCSW-R) and Certified Consultant (CC- Association for Applied Sport Psychology) with a private practice in New York City. With more than 20 years of experience, she specializes in working with adolescents and adults with hearing loss, childhood trauma, exercise and psychotherapy, deaf and disability sport, individuals and teams from recreational to elite athletes.

Dr. Clark has a rich and long history as a multi-sport standout athlete including: four sport high school letter winner, former basketball player for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, three-time Deaflympian with one gold and two silver medals in volleyball, 1991 Olympic Festival (volleyball), all star catcher/1st baseman in fast pitch softball and has run 7 marathons. She was a Torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay Team.

Dr. Clark is an internationally published author, researcher, freelance writer and public speaker. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). She serves on the Diversity Committee and Women in Sports & Disability SIGs of AASP (www.appliedsportpsych.org).

Dr. Clark also serves as a member of the ING New York City Marathon Psyching Team, the Advisory Council for Healing with Basketball (www.healingwithbasketball.org) and the Strategic Planning Committee of the USADSF (www.usdeafsports.org).

Michael “BearDaBeast” Key

E-Sports

Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  China

After being highlighted as a top prospect in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft, BearDaBeast was selected 11th overall by T-Wolves Gaming. After starting the season 3-6, he propelled the T-Wolves to eight-straight regular-season wins to sneak into the playoffs. Leading his team as the point guard, his team raised the 2019 NBA 2K League trophy and BearDaBeast was named the MVP of the Finals

Tamika Raymond

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2010  –  Malawi
  • 2011  –  Tanzania
  • 2012  –  China
  • 2013  –  Ukraine
  • 2013  –  Nigeria
  • 2014  –  Sri Lanka

Tamika Maria Raymond is an Assistant Coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of Kansas. Prior to serving in that role, Raymond played professional basketball in the WNBA for six seasons. During the 2002 WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx selected Raymond with the sixth overall pick. She played her last season in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun.

Prior to playing in the WNBA, Raymond attended the University of Connecticut, where she majored in interpersonal communications. She played for the school’s women’s basketball teams, which won Division I National Championship teams in 2000 and 2002. She completed her four-year collegiate career with averages of 10.6 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. She finished as UConn’s all-time leader in field goal percentage at 70.3 percent.

Raymond had a stellar high school basketball career in Dayton, OH. She was named the 1997 and 1998 Ohio Player of the Year and was selected to the 1997-98 Associated Press girls Division I All-Ohio high school basketball team. She was named “Ohio’s Miss Basketball” by the Associated Press.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  China
  • 2017  –  Kazakhstan

During her senior year of high school, Taj McWilliams-Franklin gave birth to a daughter, Michele. Sixteen months after the birth of Michele, McWilliams-Franklin welcomed a second daughter, Schera, into the world. As such, she now had to find a basketball family that would accept her expanding family.

St. Edward’s University, an NAIA school in Austin, Texas, the city where her mother lived, would serve as McWilliams-Franklin’s new college basketball home, offering her a partial scholarship that she supplemented with loans. To sustain her basketball career while surviving her academic and everyday obligations, McWilliams-Franklin gave Schera up for adoption. Despite these stresses, McWilliams-Franklin excelled on the court, attracting the attention of Division I programs. Yet, appreciative of the opportunity, McWilliams-Franklin stuck with St. Edward’s. She was named 1993 NAIA Player of the Year her senior season.

In need of money to finish school and support her family, McWilliams-Franklin headed overseas. She played in Wolfenbüttel, Germany (1993-94), Contern, Luxembourg (1994-95) and Galilee, Israel (1995-96), all with Michele in tow. Hooping in far-flung locales did not strain her love for the game, instead confirming that basketball was the career she wanted.

While McWilliams-Franklin combined her commitments — to the game and to her daughter — her unconventional arrangement did not earn widespread approval, including from Michele’s biological father. He sued for custody, successfully raising questions about McWilliams-Franklin’s “fitness as a mother.” The parental rights he won did not last long, however, with McWilliams-Franklin regaining custody from Michele’s father after his one-month fatherhood experiment failed.

Soon thereafter, it seemed McWilliams-Franklin’s perseverance would pay off. A professional women’s basketball league, the ABL, was established in the U.S. in 1996. After participating in a combine for prospective players, she was selected by the Richmond Rage in the inaugural ABL Draft with the 40th overall pick. In Richmond, McWilliams provided a powerful post presence, complimenting star point guard Dawn Staley and versatile forward Adrienne Goodson to form a talented threesome that led the Rage to the ABL championship series, where they fell to the Columbus Quest.

This successful season did not secure the Rage a permanent place in the Richmond sporting landscape. The team was relocated to Philadelphia, giving McWilliams-Franklin another new basketball home. After an underwhelming 1997-98 season, the Rage folded early in the 1998-99 season. McWilliams-Franklin, thus, traveled overseas, this time to Greece. McWilliams-Franklin took another shot at making a roster in the WNBA by attending the 1999 combine. Despite her documented success in the ABL, however, she remained available until the third round, when the Orlando Miracle, an expansion team, selected her with the 32nd pick. In a fitting match, one of women’s basketball’s ultimate underdogs would join an unquestionably underdog expansion team.

Led by McWilliams-Franklin, the Miracle overachieved during their debut season after opening their inaugural season with two-straight road losses. The Miracle finally scored a win with McWilliams-Franklin converting a game-winning bucket with 21.7 seconds remaining. McWilliams-Franklin was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve along with teammates Nykesha Sales and Shannon Johnson. The Miracle finished 15-17 for the 1999 season. In 2000, Orlando would establish itself as a legitimate playoff contender driven by an ever-determined McWilliams-Franklin.

As the fulcrum of the Orlando offense, she turned in one of the most productive offensive seasons of her career, averaging nearly 14 points per game on better than 52 percent shooting. Fans showed appreciation for McWilliams-Franklin’s play, voting her in as an All-Star starter — an honor that confirmed the underdog had become one of women’s basketball’s elites. The Miracle also would earn a playoff berth and meet the Cleveland Rockers in the first round. The lower-seeded Miracle stole Game 1, powered by a perfect McWilliams-Franklin, who made all seven of her field goal attempts. Yet, the road woes that had bedeviled Orlando all season stalled a deeper playoff run. The Miracle dropped Games 2 and 3 of the three-game Eastern Conference Semifinals.

For McWilliams-Franklin, overall on-court success was accompanied by off-court stability. While playing abroad in Italy during the WNBA offseason, McWilliams-Franklin met Reggie Franklin, an Army sergeant. In December 2000, they were married, and three years later, they gave birth to a third daughter, Maia. With Reggie willing to serve as the primary parent, McWilliams-Franklin appeared to have found the balance needed to fulfill her hooping dreams and familial desires.

All the more, the precariousness of women’s professional basketball presented her with additional difficulties. After the 2002 season, the Orlando Miracle would become the Connecticut Sun, making Uncasville, Connecticut, McWilliams’ new basketball home.

McWilliams-Franklin would spend four seasons as a Connecticut Sun, a time that would cement the underdog’s reputation as a winning player. In 2004, Connecticut advanced all the way to the WNBA Finals, where they fell 2-1 to the Seattle Storm. In 2005, the Sun were even better, with the fantastic foursome of McWilliams-Franklin, Sales, Lindsay Whalen and Katie Douglas pushing to a league-best 26-8 record.

McWilliams-Franklin also collected individual honors in 2005, securing her third All-Star selection and being named to the All-WNBA Second Team. However, the ultimate achievement — a championship — eluded McWilliams-Franklin and the Sun. They again came up short, losing the WNBA Finals 3-1 to the Sacramento Monarchs.

The 2006 season followed a similar script. At 26-8, the Sun again had the WNBA’s best record. McWilliams-Franklin again earned All-Star and All-WNBA Second Team honors. Yet, more disappointingly, Connecticut fell to the Detroit Shock in the Eastern Conference Finals.

So, for all the success that McWilliams-Franklin had attained, she still remained an underdog because her teams were unable to break through and earn a title. To continue her quest for a championship, she would have to journey elsewhere.

Ahead of the 2007 season, McWilliams-Franklin requested a trade to the Los Angeles Sparks, with the opportunity to live and play in L.A. best meeting the needs of her family at that time. Although she had turned in another All-Star season, another cross-country journey was in her future. The next offseason, she was traded to the Washington Mystics. Then, at the 2008 trade deadline, the Detroit Shock sought McWilliams-Franklin’s services for the playoff run.

In the Motor City, all this movement would pay off, with McWilliams-Franklin proving the perfect booster for the Shock. After adding McWilliams-Franklin, Detroit finished the season 12-3 and, most importantly, won the WNBA title.

The Shock envisioned serving McWilliams-Franklin as a role player, supporting stars Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan. Soon after her arrival in Detroit, she told the Ocala Star-Banner:

For the past couple years, I’ve been on young teams where I’ve been expected to be the leader for a lot of young players. It’s been a nice change to be on a team where I’m just one of the veterans — where I have so many great players surrounding me.

However, during Detroit’s playoff run, McWilliams-Franklin exceeded her role. Then almost 38 years old, McWilliams-Franklin proved she still possessed the clutch gene.

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, McWilliams-Franklin added 19 points and eight rebounds, pushing the Shock past the Liberty and sending them back to the WNBA Finals. In Game 3 of the Finals, she spurred the Shock to their championship-clinching victory, going on a personal 4-0 scoring run with approximately four minutes remaining to give the Shock an insurmountable double-digit lead.

In 2007, McWilliams-Franklin reconnected with Schera, re-establishing a relationship with the then-Shawnee State University basketball player.

Seemingly, McWilliams-Franklin might have decided to retire after the 2008 season, completing her unexpected, underdog career with a championship. Yet, as she asserted soon after beginning her professional career abroad, McWilliams-Franklin was determined to play as long as possible.

As an indication of her obsession with the game, McWilliams-Franklin continued to play abroad throughout her WNBA career, suiting up in Italy, South Korea and Russia. After another WNBA season in Detroit and single season with the New York Liberty, Cheryl Reeve, who had been an assistant coach with the Shock, lured McWilliams-Franklin to the Minnesota Lynx.

Ahead of the 2011 WNBA season, a rather unremarkable Minnesota team added two very different yet equally important talents — a seemingly guaranteed superstar in the much-heralded rookie Maya Moore and the 40-year-old, over-achieving basketball lifer in McWilliams-Franklin. Combined with Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson, the Lynx coalesced into a championship contender.

In full ‘“Mama Taj” mode, McWilliams-Franklin provided sturdy, veteran leadership for an organization with a losing reputation. Her experienced play also proved pivotal. With McWilliams-Franklin manning the back line, the Lynx captured the 2011 WNBA title and appeared poised to add a second in 2012, until a GOAT and her pack of underdogs — the Tamika Catchings-led Indiana Fever — ruined the repeat.

Somewhat ironically, McWilliams-Franklin, the longtime underdog, decided to call it quits right after she was no longer the underdog, but a member of the top dog squad that suffered an upset. McWilliams-Franklin retired from the WNBA at age 41 after the 2012 season. She would play one more season abroad, joining Clube Amigos do Basquet in Spain in 2013-14. In total, her professional basketball career, which spanned over 30 years, was a testament to perseverance.

Valerie Armstrong

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  China

Valerie Armstrong’s education includes a Master’s degree from Concordia University (Irvine, Calif.) in coaching and athletics administration in 2012, a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business from Oklahoma Panhandle State University (2007), and an associate’s degree from Eastern Wyoming College (2005). While a member of the Eastern Wyoming program, Armstrong was named an academic All-American. She was also named Female Athlete of the Year honors while at Oklahoma Panhandle St.

Armstrong began her coaching career in 2007 as the Assistant Coach at the College of the Southwest (Hobbs, N.M.). There, her team was ranked top ten in the region for almost the entire 2007 volleyball season. In 2008, Armstrong became Head Coach at Colby Community College, and in 2009, she became the Head Coach at Vernon College. Armstrong moved to be Assistant Coach at Alabama State in 2013 then Binghamton University in 2014. In 2018, Armstrong became Head Coach at Midwestern State University, where she still is today.

Penny Lucas-White

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  China

Former U.S. National Team member Penny Lucas-White has just concluded her eighth season as the head volleyball coach at Alabama State University.

Shedraws her coaching expertise from an impressive playing career at the collegiate, national and international levels, as well as coaching some of the top scholar-athletes in the nation.

Career highlights include:
– Played at LSU (1980-83) and as a professional, domestically and internationally (1984-91, 1997)
– Played as a member of the U.S. National Volleyball Team (1985-86)
– Spent 26 seasons as a coach, 16 as a college head coach (Memphis 1991-95, Air Force Academy 1996-2009, Alabama State 2011-present)
Coached athletes that earned MIT, Rhodes and Alberta Bart Holaday Scholarships
– Guided the Lady Hornets four SWAC championships
Four-time conference coach of the year (twice at Memphis, twice at ASU)

During her tenure at the helm for the Lady Hornets, Lucas-White has upgraded the nonconference schedule to include trips against some of the top teams in the country.

Lucas-White has always emphasized work in the classroom and that has not changed since she arrived on the ASU campus. Following the 2012-13 season, the volleyball team received the Large Team Academic Award at the ASU Athletic Banquet based on the overall team grade point average.

As head coach at Memphis, Lucas-White led the program to back-to-back Great Midwest Conference titles in 1993 and 1994, earning Coach of the Year honors both seasons. Her Lady Tiger squads maintained a 3.0 team GPA during her tenure at Memphis.

Lucas-White took the reins at Air Force Academy in 1996, the school’s first season competing in Division I in the highly competitive Western Athletic Conference (now known as the Mountain West Conference). A total of 18 cadet-athletes earned academic All-Mountain West Conference honors, including one Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Among her community involvement, Lucas-White has been an active member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. In 2003, she helped the AVCA receive an NCAA minority coaches grant for a program entitled “Volleyball: Live it! Love it! Coach It!”

She earned first-team All-SEC honors, as well as the MVP award, in her first season playing at LSU. After a three-year career, she left college to begin her professional playing career domestically in the United States Volleyball League and internationally in Italy and Germany.

While competing professionally in the United States and Europe, Lucas-White began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Auburn from 1987-89.

Lucas-White earned the honor of playing on the United States National Volleyball Team in the 1985 NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) Games, competing against the best players in the world.

Michelle Osunbor

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  China

Michelle Osunbor began her volleyball career playing as a Middle at Hebron High School. At Long Beach University, she was the team’s Captain, Big West Leader in blocks, and a Middle Starter. Upon graduating, Osunbor played in Brøndby, Denmark, winning the League’s Championship in 2013-2014. Following Denmark, she played with the USA Volleyball PVL Team North Texas, winning the championship in 2015.

Osunbor’s coaching history has included: Zone in Volleyball Academy (2012), Vernon College (2012-2013), Alabama State University (2013), All-American Volleyball Camps (2013-2015), USA High Performance (2016), SLAM Volleyball (2016-2017), and Volleyball Factor (2014-2017). At Vernon College, Osunbor’s team ranked 15th Nationally NJCAA, and her team at Alabama State University went on to become SWAC Champions.

In collaboration with volleyball player Allison King, Osunbor co-founded AMO, an organization that provides volleyball skills classes and summer camps across the country.

Linda Hamilton

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2007  –  Philippines
  • 2010  –  Ivory Coast
  • 2011  –  Brazil
  • 2013  –  Chile
  • 2014  –  Bangladesh
  • 2015  –  Burma
  • 2016  –  China
  • 2019  –  Egypt

Linda Hamilton enters her fifth season as head coach of the Southwestern women’s soccer team, coming off a season in which she was named the SCAC Coach of the Year, leading the Pirates to the SCAC Championship match.

Hamilton brings a wealth of experience to the program, both as a player and coach. She played collegiately at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, earning All-America status and all-conference honors all four years. She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1988. Hamilton was a member of the United States National Team, where she played in 82 international matches. She helped the team to a World Cup gold medal in 1991 and bronze in 1995.

Hamilton, who owns a United States Soccer Federation “A” coaching license, got her start in coaching at Old Dominion University as the team’s head coach from 1993 to 1995. She later served as an assistant at Hofstra University (2006-2007) and most recently served as head coach at the University of North Florida (2007-2013). She has additionally worked with the Easter Seals and National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2002-2006), serving as director of development.

Gawen DeAngelo “Bonzi” Wells

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  China

Gawen DeAngelo “Bonzi” Wells is an American former professional basketball player. He played college basketball at Ball State University and was drafted in the 1998 NBA Draft.

Doug Overton

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  China

Doug Overton is a retired former American basketball player. Prior to beginning his 11 seasons with the NBA, Overton spent a season with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL. He credits his time with the Illawarra Hawks as a big stepping stone for his career in the NBA.

He was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round (40th overall) of the 1991 NBA draft. Overton played for the Washington Bullets, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. In his NBA career, Overton played in 499 games and scored a total of 2,253 points. As well as earned the First-team All-MAAC three times.

In May 2006, Overton was named assistant men’s basketball coach at Saint Joseph’s University. He became an assistant coach for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in 2008. He was also named Nets Player Development Coach prior to the 2010–11 season. Now coaches Lincoln University men’s basketball in Oxford, Pennsylvania.