Former NBA player Sam Vincent is new head coach at Beacon College in Leesburg

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Sam Vincent, a former NBA player for the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic, has signed on to be the head men’s and women’s basketball coach at Beacon College in Leesburg, a school for kids diagnosed with learning differences.

“The mission really got me excited about the opportunity,” Vincent said. “I had the chance to spend time with Dr. Hagerty (Beacon President George J. Hagerty) and listen to his travels and his passion for education, and it was really special conversation with him that inspired me to come here.”

Vincent grew up in Lansing, Michigan, where he watched his brother, Jay, play with Magic Johnson at Everett High School. As a point guard, Sam Vincent attended Michigan State University and began his NBA career when he was picked by the Celtics in the 1985 draft. In 1986, they won the NBA championship.

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He briefly played for the Seattle SuperSonics before joining the Bulls, playing alongside Michael Jordan, then joined the inaugural season of the Orlando Magic in 1989. He retired in 1992.

In the late 1990s, Vincent began coaching overseas in South Africa, Europe, China, Greece, the Netherlands and Nigeria, leading the Nigerian women’s basketball team to victory in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

As of earlier this year, Vincent was still coaching in the Middle East, but the opportunity arose to coach at Beacon College, which was closer to his Orlando home and a change of pace he desired.

“I hope to bring my experiences and what I’ve learned to these kids,” Vincent said. “Even though I’ve enjoyed coaching internationally, my home is Orlando. After finding out more about Beacon’s mission, it seemed very special and it’s now all about what are we going to do in Leesburg.”

Vincent’s goal for the program is simply growth.

“We want to be a little bit better every day,” Vincent said. “Of course we want to try to win, but they are just now growing the sports program. It’s important to teach the fundamentals first. There’s no stress, no pressure. We just want to get out there and have fun and love the game.”

Vincent will be focusing on conditioning, fitness, technique and bettering the students academically.

“We want these kids to have the confidence to believe in themselves,” Vincent said. “Work hard and their dreams will come true.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: Ex-NBA player Sam Vincent coaches at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida