Southwest Tennessee Community College

January 21, 2004

CONTACTS: Kimberly Stark, 901-333-4023 -- Keith Gentry, 901-333-4114, 901-619-1899-cell


Southwest athletic director and men's basketball coach Verties Sails, Jr., along with 17 other coaches, players and civic and civil rights leaders, was honored at halftime of the Memphis Grizzlies game against the Houston Rockets on Monday, January 19 at The Pyramid. Also honored was former Saluqis' basketball player and women's basketball coach Herb Wright, father of Grizzlies' player Lorenzen Wright.

The halftime show, used by the Grizzlies to commemorate the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, also included Elektra recording artist Gerald LeVert singing Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."

On Sunday, Sails was part of a symposium hosted by the Grizzlies and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Cannon Center. During the symposium, panel members discussed the roles coaches and athletes have played in social change and economic empowerment for African-Americans.

Also on the panel were John Thompson, former Georgetown University basketball coach and currently a television commentator for the National Basketball Association; Chuck Daly, former Detroit Pistons coach and a member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame; Earl Lloyd, the first black NBA player and also a member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame; and Clifford Ray, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1971 and played 10 years in the NBA.