our coaches

the past, the present, and the future of Hoopslife

An introduction to the coaches who helped build HOOPSLife USA into the program that it was, and the coaches who will take HOOPSLife Ireland into the program it will be

Ignas Šijanas

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Coach Ignas is a Lithuanian coach who has been working coaching in Ireland for several years now. He enjoyed early success as a coach in the National League previously with Kilorglin BC, where he secured promotion to the Super League in his first season. He then went on to coach in Germany for two seasons with SV Fellbach Stuttgar, before returning to coach in the Irish National League with the Killarney Cougars in 2021. We’re delighted to have coach Ignas join us for our first-ever camp in Kerry as he directed our camp in association with Gneeveguilla BC this summer.

Jason Barry

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Jason has coached many local clubs throughout the years, has been an Assistant coach at Irish International level, and he has refereed at every level of the game in Irish basketball. He represents all clubs in Limerick as a fantastic ambassador for the local area board in North Munster Basketball and the community. Jason is also the director of the Shark’s Academy. He has an ethos of supporting the community and assisting in youth development that is reflective of the HOOPSLife program.

Vadji Dosso

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Vadji has played basketball in Europe and the USA and is one of our more experienced players / coaches at camp. Vadji played NCAA D1 basketball and graduated to become a pro basketball player in Europe. He has played for the Limerick Sport Eagles for 3 seasons now and is actively coaching in the limerick community with Limerick Lakers Basketball Club and a number of different schools.

Daniel Shahab

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Daniel is a young coach who has shown a great understanding for the game of basketball and an early desire to help others grow and develop, Daniel is a product of the Limerick Lions basketball club and formally of the Limerick Lakers basketball club. He will play national league U20 and D1 with the Limerick sport Eagles next year and is currently representing Ireland on the U17 development squad. The future is bright for this young player and just as bright for his development as a coach.

Ronan Cregan

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Ronan started playing basketball when he was 12 years old in an attempt to improve his ball handling and fitness for rugby. He then fell in love with the game when was 15 choosing to focus on basketball as his #1 sport. Ronan has represented Ireland at U16, and U18 level and has competed for his country in the European championships. He is a product of the Limerick Lions Basketball and currently plays for the Limerick sport Eagles in Irelands National League D1; while also playing in the University College Cork (UCC).

Sophie Moore

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Sophie has represented Ireland in the U16 European Championships. Since then, she has also taken part in the Irish u17 and u18 squads. Sophie plays a starting role with the Limerick Sport Huskies National League Division 1 team and is currently playing college basketball at the University of Limerick.

Reece Barry

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Reece grew up playing basketball with Limerick Lions Basketball and has since graduated into the Limerick Sport Eagles National League team. He has played Internationally at u16, u17 and represented Ireland in last Summer's European Championships at u18 level. This past year Reece led his school, St Munchin's College, to All Ireland Cup success and helped the school gain promotion to the A level of Irish School basketball.

Claire Melia

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Claire has just come off a fantastic season winning the women's Superleague Regular season and the National Cup with Glanmire BC. She has recently just signed to play with the Trinity Meteors for the 2022/23 season. She's played on National teams from U16 up to Senior level; she's captained her country at U18 and U20; she's been an All-star at U18, U20 and Senior International competitions; And to round it all off, her fantastic season saw her crowned Women’s Superleague Player of the Year in 2022.

Nathan Moore

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A product of Limerick Lions Basketball and Limerick sport Eagles, Nate has represented his country at two European Championships for our Irish u16 and u18 national teams. He graduated from Bridgton academy in 2020 and is currently playing NCAA D3 basketball at Hilbert College in New York.

James Phelan

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James, who came up through the ranks in Portlaoise Panthers Basketball Club, has just finished his first year playing basketball in America, graduating from Hyde prep school in Maine. He has recently committed to Thomas college and will play NCAA D3 basketball next year.

Hillary Nets

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Hillary plays basketball in Ireland's Super league with Eanna BC and has a vast amount of international experience from playing in professional and semi pro leagues in England, Italy, Wales, and Afro basket. He has been coaching basketball for 15 years and currently coaches in Dublin with Eanna u16's and is the Head coach of the DBS women's and men’s Collegiate programs. As a coach, Hillary specializes in skill development and player growth, which is an integral piece of the HOOPSLife player pathway.

Daniel Ajuka

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Daniel Ajuka has been playing professional basketball in Ireland for the past 2 seasons with the Portlaoise Panthers and the Limerick Sport Eagles respectively. After weighing up his options he has decided to re-join the Panthers for the 2022/23 season. Having played professionally in Europe, Ireland is a country that Daniel has enjoyed working and along with his fantastic mindset towards helping youth grow and develop, Daniel has become one of the leading coaches in the HOOPSLife organization.

Nikola Ivkovic

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Nikola Ivkovic has played pro basketball in Serbia and Italy. He has recently come off a successful season as a pro basketball player with the Limerick Sport Eagles and has announced that he will be return to the club this season while taking up a 4-year degree at the Technological University of the Shannon.

Casey Tobin

Co-Head of Performance Analysis

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Dr. Tim Rice

Head of Applied Sport Psychology

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Declan Berry

Head of Athletic Development

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Hannah Thornton

Sports Nutritionist

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Niall Berry

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Coach Niall interned in HOOPSLife in 2015/16 where he worked closely with all staff. His experience and education in coaching and performance allowed him to be the perfect assistant, helping others where he could and adding value to the programs. In 2017/18 he took on the role of developing the high-performance programs, as an extension of the leadership and life skills program and worked closely with all staff to establish an club / program that everyone could be proud of. He also coached the 10th grade AAU program and assisted the best young players in Eustis, Mount Dora, Leesburg and Tavares, to showcase their abilities and be seen by programs that could help impact their futures.

Pat Burke

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Coach Pat was coaching in HOOPSLife throughout its entire journey in the USA. He built a foundation for coaches to work with young players on a daily basis but was always present to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the development of youth in every capacity. Pats unique coaching style of through provoking questioning really challenged players to find new ways of thinking and his understanding of basketball development at the very highest level made him the ultimate coach to inspire and develop our HOOPSLife youth.

Bradley Tumer Da Costa

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A long-term HOOPSLife Coach, Coach Bradly Tumer was involved in HOOPSLife in the initial start-up days in 2012, he was a part of the program when it transitioned to fundamentally working on Leadership and Life skills development, and again a part of the program when it developed into focus on Long Term Player Development and AAU teams. Coach Brad is known for his focus on player development and coached athletes in HOOPSLife and individually for years. He took on the 6th grade AAU program in HOOPSLife in 2017/18 building a foundation for young players to thrive into middle school and high school in the coming years.

Darius Evans

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Coach Darius Evan’s – Coach Red – worked in HOOPSLife for a number of years in many different roles. Always willing to get involved and help in the programs, Darius was all about helping local youth in the community to better themselves. Coach Darius was involved in the HOOPSLife AAU programs in 2017/18 when he coached his own AAU program, the HOPE Ballers, under the HOOPSLife banner and competed as the HOOPSLife 9th grade boys AAU coach.

Kristina McGowan

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Kristina McGowan’s daughter Alexis joined the program as an 8-year-old and Kristina was instantly hooked on the HOOPSLife principals of using basketball as a tool to educate youth on key leadership and life skills. Kristina volunteered in the organization for years before her background in business became a position of need in the organization. Kristina worked in HOOPSLife in office administration and accounts which helped the program grow and develop between 2015-2018.

Nate Cox

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Coach Nate Cox worked for HOOPSLife for many years as a camp coach. He spent time working in the HOOPSLife Program in between his college education and showed and fantastic aptitude for coaching young players with a coaching philosophy that aligned with the HOOPSLife ethos. Nate went on to finish his studies, traveling and coaching before he took up a position alongside Dustin in Rabun Gap private school in Georgia. Nate currently coaches the middle school boys program in Rabun Gap while also being the director of middle school learning and support in the school.

Dustin Barnes

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Coach Dustin Barnes worked in the early years of HOOPSLife USA withing the player development programs and the initial HOOPS AAU programs. Coach Dustin went on to coach Admiral Farragut Academy for five years. In 2019, Dustin joined the Rabun Gap private boarding school in Georgia and took up the position of varsity boys basketball coach.

John Alban

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Coach John Alban was part of the HOOPSLife program from the beginning. From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, coach John brought an old school approach to a new age philosophy of using basketball as a platform to educate our kids on life skills. Coach John connected with our kids on a daily basis with his humour. His quirky and sarcastic personality was adored by our HOOPSLife parents and young players, and John used this to gauge buy in and help these young players to become better versions of themselves.

Courtney Keith Milsap

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Coach Courtney Keith made HOOPSLife better for everyone who walked in the gym. His high energy, high impact coaching style motivated young players to elevate on a daily basis. The result being players who consistently played above themselves and parents who left the gym as motivated and energised as their son or daughter. CK’s energy was infectious and brought a smile to everyone’s face and a desire to follow his lead. He was an integral part to the HOOPSLife Leadership and Life skill program, the HOOPSLife LTAD programs, and the Head coach of the HOOPSLife 8th Grade boys AAU program.

Michael Ray Likely

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Coach Michael Ray Likely was an ever-present coach in HOOPSLife throughout its time in the US. Coach Ray was a head coach in the academy sessions and coached and directed camps in the early years of HOOPSLife. In the later years he was the Head coach of our 8th grade Ladies HOOPSLife AAU program and one of our Head player development coaches in the LTAD program.

Toni Francis

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Coach Toni was an integral part of the organization for over 5 years. As director of the Leadership and Life skills programs he oversaw the implementation of the classroom-based sessions and assisted with transfer of each lesson to the court. Coach Toni was known in HOOPSLife for his unorthodox teaching methods and was loved by the kids because of his ability to connect with them and help them overcome life’s challenges.

usa coaches

Other key Hoopslife USA development coaches

Mary Foote Conod
McGyver Smith
Coach Dominic
Savannah Guenther
Curtis Johnson
Coach Fred
Darian Anthony
Akeem Dunham
Tenia Manuel
Patricia Alin
Coy Patterson Jr
Myke Wharff
Teron Walace
Vance Roberts

Coach Mentorship Program

The HOOPSLife Coach Mentorship program is an 8-month program in coach development (from October to April each year) which is designed to assist grassroots coaches to advance their coaching level on a monthly basis. The program will partner young coaches with some of the top coaches in Irish basketball and Internationally to progressively improve and develop their coaching practices.