Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke


Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Senegal
  • 2006  –  Senegal
  • 2019  –  Italy

One of the most decorated players in the history of women’s basketball, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke returns to lead the Texas Southern women’s basketball program as its head coach.

Cooper-Dyke served as TSU’s head coach during the 2012-13 season before taking the reins at her alma mater, Southern California. She led the Lady Tigers to a 20-12 record and a trip to the postseason Women’s NIT in her only season at TSU. She had a 70-57 record in four seasons at USC before stepping down in 2017. Cooper-Dyke provided color commentary for Texas Southern basketball home broadcasts on AT&T Sports Net Houston during the 2017-18 season.

Cooper-Dyke arrived at TSU in 2012 after spending the past two seasons at UNC-Wilmington where she led the Seahawks to two of their most successful campaigns in 2010-11 and 2011-12, guiding the squad to a school-record 24 victories (2010) and its second consecutive postseason appearance with an at-large berth in the 2012 Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. During the 2010-11 season UNCW was victorious in its first postseason contest, recording a 63-54 victory over Richmond before falling to Eastern Michigan in the second round.

That same year Cooper-Dyke was named CAA Coach-of-the-Year, marking the third time in her six-year collegiate coaching career that she has earned Coach-of-the-Year accolades. Freshman point guard Alisha Andrews garnered CAA Rookie-of-the-Year honors, while seniors Brittany Blackwell and Martha White were First and Second-Team All-Conference selections, respectively. All three players were named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.

Cooper-Dyke also achieved a personal milestone during the 2010-11 season, recording her 100th collegiate coaching victory with an 85-68 triumph at Northeastern on Jan. 23, 2011.

Cooper-Dyke was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August, 13, 2010. Part of the largest induction class in the Hall of Fame’s history, Cooper-Dyke was enshrined along with Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, longtime LA Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, St. Anthony’s (N.J.) high-school coach Bob Hurley, Sr., as well as former players Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously. Also included in the enshrinement ceremony were the 1960 and 1992 US Men’s Olympic teams.

The former college great, Olympic gold medalist and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player was named the ninth head coach in UNCW’s history on May 10, 2010 following a successful five-year stint at Prairie View A&M in central Texas.

Cooper-Dyke joined the Prairie View program in May of 2005 and guided the Lady Panthers to their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season title, SWAC Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth in 2006-07, collecting conference Coach-of-the-Year honors.

PVAMU repeated as SWAC regular season champions in 2008 and 2009 under Cooper-Dyke. The 2008 club made its first appearance in the WNIT and Cooper-Dyke was voted SWAC Coach-of-the-Year for the second time in 2009 after leading the Panthers to their second NCAA Tournament appearance.

Born in Chicago but raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cooper-Dyke was a four-year standout at Southern California, where she sparked the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984. She later completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Prairie View A&M.

Cooper-Dyke collected five medals while representing the United States. She won a gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, captured gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, claimed gold at the 1986 and 1990 FIBA World Championships and won bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Cooper-Dyke began her professional career overseas and played 10 seasons in Spain and Italy. She returned to the United States in 1997 to play with the Houston Comets of the newly-formed WNBA.

She subsequently led the Comets to four consecutive WNBA championships and was named WNBA Finals MVP four times. Cooper-Dyke was voted the league’s MVP in 1997 and 1998 and was a four-time WNBA All-Star before retiring in 2000.

Cooper-Dyke moved into the coaching ranks in 2001 as the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury and spent two seasons on the sidelines before returning to the Comets’ playing roster briefly until an injury curtailed her season in 2003. She announced her final retirement prior to the start of the 2004 campaign and finished as Houston’s all-time leader in scoring (2,601 points), free throw percentage (.871) and assists (602).

Cooper-Dyke, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, has also been active beyond the basketball court. In 2000, she published her autobiography, “She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey,” chronicling her childhood, basketball career and her mother’s battle with breast cancer.

Casey Shaw


Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  Italy

Casey Shaw joined the Vanderbilt basketball staff in April of 2016 as an assistant coach after a successful playing career as a professional athlete in the NBA/FIBA and as a student-athlete at the University of Toledo.

“Coach Shaw is a former NBA draft pick who has a wealth of experience and knowledge from his playing career and through the relationships he has made in the NBA,” said Drew. “Being 6’10, he will be outstanding in working with our post players and developing them.”

Shaw’s wealth of basketball experience began in 1998 when he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 37th overall pick after a stellar four-year career at Toledo, where he ranks sixth all-time with 1,562 points and fifth with 871 rebounds. He also ranks second in Toledo history with 107 blocked shots and sixth in field goal percentage (.546). He was named second team All-MAC in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and made the MAC All-Freshman team in 1994-95. He also was an outstanding student, earning third-team Academic All-America honors as a senior in 1997-98, and making the Academic All-MAC team in his junior and senior seasons.

After a stint in the NBA, Shaw began what became an 11-year international professional career in 2000 with stops in the Italian and Spanish leagues along the way.

“Having the opportunity to play professional basketball for 13 seasons was a dream come true and I am thankful that I can now use all those years of experience to be a better coach for players who hope to realize that same dream after their Vanderbilt playing days are over,” said Shaw.

Prior to his arrival in Nashville, Shaw worked at Balasa Dinverno Foltz, LLC, in Chicago, where he served as the Director of the Professional Athlete Service Team, providing business, career, and investment guidance to professional athletes. He is also a member of the National Board of Directors for the NBA Retired Players Association, which assists NBA players in their transition from playing to life after the game.

On the court, Shaw was the Director and Head Coach of the Athletes in Action Basketball Camp from 2003-2010, served as a Global All-Star Challenge Head Coach in 2012, and coached the Midwest Elite AAU team in Merrillville, Ind., in 2013 and the 180 Elite AAU team out of Chicago from 2015-16. In addition, he served as a National Basketball Developmental League Tryouts Coach and was a member of the NBA Assistant Coaches Program in 2014.

Shaw graduated with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education, from the University of Toledo, in 1997, and a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from the Moody Graduate School in Chicago, Ill., in 2011. He also graduated from the Northwestern University School of Continuing and Professional Education to become a Certified Financial Planner in 2012.

Alexander English


Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  China
  • 2014  –  South Korea
  • 2015  –  Italy

Alex English was born January 5, 1954 in Columbia, South Carolina. English stayed true to his homegrown roots, starring at local Dreher High School before moving on to play collegiately at the University of South Carolina.

Following his career at South Carolina, English was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 23rd overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft. During his time in Milwaukee, English learned the game as a backup as the team tried to rebuild following Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s departure. English was traded to the Indiana Pacers in 1978, where he began to show flashes of his scoring ability, averaging 16 points per game. Midway through the 1979-80 season, he was traded once more to the Denver Nuggets where he would solidify his reputation as a prolific scorer. From 1980-1990, his entire tenure with the Nuggets, English averaged 26 points per game, earned 8 All-Star bids, became a 3-time All-NBA Second Team selection, led the league in scoring in 1983 and became the franchises’ all-time leading scorer. To add to the list of impressive feats, English led the Nuggets in scoring in 55% of the games he played for Denver. Following this decade with the Nuggets, he signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 1990, where he would play for one season before finishing his NBA career.

After being away from the game for a few years, English got into coaching, spending one season each with the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks as an assistant coach prior to joining the Toronto Raptors organization. There, he would spend 2004 – 2011 as the Director of Player Development and as an assistant coach. In the summer of 2011, English finished with the Raptors and spent one season with the Sacramento Kings.