our founding

Founders of HOOPSLife (2011)

Patrick John Burke (born December 14, 1973) is an Irish born, former professional basketball player. Burke (whose family moved from Tullamore, Offaly, to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was three years old) competed in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and played in Europe, ending his career with the Polish club, Asseco Prokom Sopot. He was a co-captain of the Irish senior men's basketball team, and represented his country at the World University Games. 

In 2011, Pat Burke along with wife Peyton established a basketball training program in Mount Dora, Florida. The aim of the program was to help local youth to develop as basketball players and build a community of everyone working together in pursuit of success. Pat and Peyton expanded on this philosophy by founding the HOOPSLife organization in 2013. Building a program that would use basketball as a vessel to assist youth in their development by teaching them fundamental leadership and life skills, setting them up for long term success.

HOOPSLife Ireland (2021)

Coach Niall Berry interned in HOOPSLife USA in 2015 and subsequently took on the role of Program Director in 2017. in 2018, Pat and Niall travelled to Ireland to visit with the Irish basketball community to share an insight into the HOOPSLife organization with clubs, and basketball people across their home country. On that trip they decided that HOOPSLife Ireland could be a potential expansion of the program, so they began making plans to explore the possibilities. In November 2021, an agreement was reached that they would finally launch the HOOPSLife Ireland Academies; and in 2022, Niall was declared as a co-owner of the HOOPSLife organization. The new direction of HOOPSLife would be to establish the Academies in Ireland - which would be mirrored off of the HOOPSLife USA Academy - building and an international program that focused on the development of youth, the development of leadership, and emphasized our commitment to each HOOPSLife community.

The Story of HoopsLife Basketball Academy

Hoopslife was started with a mission to assist youth, to guide the coaches we partner with, to elevate the athletes we work with, and to unite the communities we serve.


Pat Burke, former NBA player and European Champion, recognized an opportunity to work with the community in Mount Dora, Florida, on assisting youth with the desire to positively impact their lives. Mr. Burke and his wife Peyton launched “HOOPS Pat Burke’s Training Facility” with a simple mission to help youth and bring the community together. Pat saw the game of basketball as the vehicle for building a safe place for youth to share meaningful conversation on the challenges they were facing in life and within a short period of time, it became clear that more effective programs geared towards youth development were needed.  Consequently, Pat envisioned a more holistic youth development model.  

The Mt Dora Community Trust, HOOPS Scholarship Fund was Established in 2011 by Pat and Peyton Burke. Designed to benefit the community’s youth through a life skills and leadership-based educational curriculum called HOOPS Life. 


In 2013, Pat Burke and his wife, Peyton, founded HOOPS Life Cares, Inc. as a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. The mission was to impact youth, utilizing basketball as a vehicle to support children with life challenges and leadership opportunities both on and off the court.  


Since January 2012: 479 scholarships were given and $166,000 raised. Contributions and pledges donated through Golf Tournaments, and an Annual Gala, where 170 business and community leaders were in attendance.  HOOPSLife received support through individuals, local businesses, and local grants. Grants included contributions from The Harper Family Foundation, the Charles Band Mary M. McLin Foundation, the Mount Dora Community Trust, Adventist Health System (Waterman), Hans & Cay Jacobsen Foundation, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Wells Fargo Advisors. The HOOPSLife organization will always be grateful for the contributions made, which enabled us to impact the lives of so many families across Central Florida.


HOOPS Life was established to benefit youth through life skills and leadership based educational curriculum; basketball was the vehicle. In 2016 a total of 177 children ages 7-14 took part in curriculum-based programs. Measurement improvements ranged from 56% to 62% in improved grades, self-control, behaviour, confidence, and problem-solving. The fall class of 2016 measurements were the best to date with:

84% improved grades,
71% greater self-control,
65% behaviour and confidence development
64% superior problem-solving.    


After 6 years of building a program to assist youth with the challenges at home, at school and in sport through the HOOPSLife program, Pat realized that kids we’re aging out of the program and going to play in competitive basketball environments, designed to exploit youth, in pursuit of coaching success.  Shocked by the landscape of High-school basketball, and AAU (travel ball) basketball, Pat decided to recruit the assistance of coach Niall Berry to help build a competitive basketball environment with a HOOPSLife approach to assisting youth. In February 2017, Pat and Niall started discussing plans to build a program of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) that was unique to the HOOPSLife facility, and philosophy. Instead of being an aggressive culture of exploiting the talents of our youth, the program would be an extension of the organization, identifying a pathway designed to combat the process of learned helplessness.  In September 2017, the HOOPSLife “compete” program was launched, giving players an in-house competitive league to be developed in the technical and tactical areas of the game.

In October of 2017, the HOOPSLife “LTAD” program was launched, giving players a platform to be educated and developed in the areas of Elite Technique, Elite Shooting and Elite Strength & Conditioning. Players had full access to the facility at 5am every morning and up until 10:30pm every evening. Players also received education in concepts around Sports Psychology and Sports Nutrition to help each athlete strive for success in their High-school basketball programs.


In March 2018, HOOPSLife launched its AAU program and established boy’s teams at 10th grade, 9th grade, 8th grade, and 7th grade. These teams were coached by Niall Berry, Pat Burke, Darius Evans, Courtney Keith, Bradley Da Costa Tumer, and Toni Francis.  They also launched a lady’s team at 8th grade which was coached by Michael Ray Likely. 

HOOPSLife had officially established a European like club model in central Florida, which was built on the foundation of developing youth to overcome obstacles and challenges in their lives. What followed was a fantastic AAU season and a lifetime of memories for all who were involved in the program.

HOOPSLife International, an expansion of HOOPS Life, was launched in late October of 2018. The first camp enrolled youth from MVP, a Panamanian sports club. Held at the HOOPS Life training facility, and at the Florida Elks Youth Camp, the U18 group faced a rigorous training program of individual skills development, along with a deeper understanding of life-skills including respect, integrity, communication, focus, and teamwork, The Panamanian team faced three of the local high school teams in a round robin tournament. This gave the kids a chance to not only play against U.S. teams, but to also gain a cultural experience.


HOOPSLife appeared to be a thing of the past in 2019, a fond memory for the families and coaches who spent years assisting youth to overcome life’s hurdles. However, coach Pat and coach Niall continued to discuss opportunity throughout the year. Exploring the possibilities, and adaptations that HOOPSLife might take in future ventures.  

HOOPSLife was never a physical space. HOOPSLife was always a commitment to understanding people, and helping people to work together in implementing a philosophy of positively impacting the lives of others.


In February 2020, COVID impacted our lives, shutting down boarders and hindering any possibility of HOOPSLife being able to relaunch in the US. Pat and Niall decided that although the  programs couldn't be rebuilt straight away, that an outline of all our program procedures should be ready for when the opportunity would arise to relaunch the programs. 

Niall began work on consolidating all HOOPSLife program files and research papers, which was accumulated to form the HOOPSLife Program document. This document was a 200-page outline of every program that was built from 2015 to 2020, and it gave HOOPSLife a platform to be able to recruit partners, to educate future leaders, and guide coaches on the philosophy of the organization.


In November of 2022 – Pat and Niall made the decision to partner in relaunching the HOOPSLife organization. They decided that the rapid growth of Irish basketball presented an opportunity to build the programs at the other side of the Atlantic. With established relationships in several cubs and schools, Ireland would be the best opportunity to impact the most lives in the short term with the HOOPSLife programs.


In February 2022, HOOPSLife was relaunched in several schools across the Midwest of Ireland. Including, the CBS in Thurles, co. Tipperary; St Munchins College, co. Limerick; Scoil Ruain, Killenaule, co. Tipperary.

The programs launched in a pilot program structure, with all schools signing up for 12 weeks of basketball skills development sessions. The programs we’re a huge success, with over 80 players registered across the 3 academies.

A pilot program was launched in St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla, co. Clare for 6 weeks in April and May 2022. The program added 25 more players to the program and established the 4th academy in Ireland in just 4 months. 

In July 2022, HOOPSLife Ireland partnered with several basketball clubs in Ireland to launch the HOOPSLife Ireland Summer camp season. With 13 partner clubs, HOOPSLife launched 7 basketball camps and brought the program to 7 different towns in Ireland. There were 450+ campers registered for HOOPSLife summer camps in Clare, Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, and Kerry. Thus, in just 6 short months, HOOPSLife had an impacted the lives of over 500 kids, re-establishing our basketball training programs and using basketball as a tool to educate our youth in leadership and life skills.

HOOPSLife’s will continue to build on the foundations established in Florida between 2011 and 2018. The future of HOOPSLife will focus on our relationships with like-minded people, engaging with new communities and developing a platform of everyone supporting each other to grow.
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