DETROIT – The Horizon League and Olympia Entertainment announced Rick Mahorn as the final panelist for the Champions Brunch at Joe Louis Arena. The NBA champion and former Detroit Pistons forward rounds out a group that includes three-time WNBA champion Cheryl Ford and Green Bay Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie as panelists and ESPN women's college basketball analyst Kelley Deyo as moderator.
Mahorn was drafted by the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) in the second round of the 1980 NBA Draft. He came to Detroit prior to the 1985-86 season and helped the franchise win its first championship as a member of the original "Bad Boys" team in 1988-89. He also earned All-NBA second team defensive honors that season. He had a second stint with the Pistons from 1996-98.
In 2005, Mahorn joined the Detroit Shock coaching staff, helping take the team to a seventh straight playoff appearance and third WNBA Championship. Three games into the 2009 WNBA season, Mahorn took over the head coaching position and led the Shock to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The event will be held at 10 a.m. on March 7 in the International Bancard Olympia Club inside Joe Louis Arena. Attendees receive a ticket to the Champions Brunch and a game ticket to the women's and men's championship games for $25. Fans with a game ticket can purchase a Champions Brunch ticket for $15. To purchase, click here. The brunch will conclude with remarks from Horizon League Deputy Commissioner Julie Roe Lach who brings over 20 years of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics.
"As a league with a proud basketball past and continuing national prominence, we are excited to bring together experts from many levels of athletics to discuss topics of current interest in a variety of sports related fields" said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone.
Biographical information about the panelists:
Cheryl Ford was drafted as the No. 3 overall pick in the first round by the Detroit Shock in the 2003 WNBA Draft. In her first year, Ford led the Shock from a worst-to-first record and a WNBA championship in 2003. She was the first player to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award and a WNBA Championship in the same year. The Summerfield, La., native and daughter of NBA great Karl Malone played her college ball at Louisiana Tech and was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003.
Mary Ellen Gillespie is in her fifth season at UW-Green Bay. In 2015, Gillespie assisted in collecting a record-setting fundraising total of more than $1 million for the Phoenix Fund. She inked a seven-year apparel deal with Adidas that made the company the official footwear, apparel and accessory company of the entire athletics department through the 2021-22 season.
Rick Mahorn is a Hartford, Conn., native and played 18 seasons in the NBA and is in his ninth year as color analyst for the Pistons radio broadcast network. He was a four-year letter winner at Hampton Institute (Va.). and a three-time NCAA Division II and NAIA All-American. He graduated with a degree in business administration in 1980. Mahorn served as head coach of the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) for the 1999-00 season. He led the Lightning to a 15-7 overall record and the American Conference title, which earned them a No. 2 seed in the 2000 CBA Playoffs. Mahorn's coaching excellence was recognized by two CBA Coach of the Month awards. He then joined the coaching staff of the Atlanta Hawks under Lon Kruger during the 2001-02 season.
Kelley Deyo is a women's college basketball analyst for ESPN who played for the 2001 National Champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish. That same season, the four-year letter winner averaged 11.3 points per game, earning the BIG EAST Conference's Most Improved Player award while hitting the 1,000-point mark in the final game of her career. Deyo was also named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team as well as the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team during that memorable year. Deyo would go on to play professionally for Austria's top division team 2003. From 2003-2007, she served as the post coach and recruiting coordinator for Liberty University.
About Motor City Madness: For the latest information about the teams, fan activities surrounding the 2017 Little Caesars Horizon League Basketball Championships, and the city of Detroit, visit MotorCityMadness.HorizonLeague.com. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting MotorCityMadness.HorizonLeague.com/tickets or by calling the Joe Louis Arena Ticket Sales & Service Office at 313-471-7575. About the Horizon League: The Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference comprised of 10 member institutions located throughout the Midwest's major metropolitan cities. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the League and its members strive to be highly competitive athletically while committing to the total development of its student-athletes and creating a lasting impact on campus and in the community. To learn more about the Horizon League, visit HorizonLeague.com and follow @HorizonLeague on Twitter and Instagram and at Facebook.com/horizonleague.
About Olympia Entertainment: Olympia Entertainment, a Detroit-based company owned by entrepreneurs Michael and Marian Ilitch, is one of the country's most diverse sport and entertainment companies and the largest organization of its kind in the mid-west. The company owns and operates Detroit's Fox Theatre, the intimate City Theatre and also books and operates Joe Louis Arena and books Comerica Park. Olympia Entertainment also handles business operations for the Detroit Red Wings, an Original Six member of the National Hockey League and collaborates with the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise and other Ilitch companies. Other Ilitch companies include: Little Caesars Pizza, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesar Pizza Kits Fundraising Program and Olympia Development. Additionally, Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers, Inc., and Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino Hotel.