There’s a new assistant coach in the Eagles’ gym who has played with some of basketball’s legends. Perhaps played for some legends is more accurate. After playing basketball for two years in college, Willie Briscoe took a break from playing ball and became a model double for Michael Jordan, David Robinson, and others. At the age of 30 he returned to school as well as the court. Amazingly, during a 10-year break, God was preparing Willie Briscoe to coach kids in an unexpected way.

An Opportunity

“When approached by SFC Athletic Director Chad Bickley with the opportunity to work with young men on the hardwood, I was excited and felt called to this ministry of discipleship,” Coach Briscoe joyfully states. The ministry of discipleship is something that Briscoe has been doing most of his adult life and in fact, launched Hope Leadership Foundation as a way of offering mentorship in educational support, sports and recreation, and spiritual development for San Diego’s underserved communities.

The Backstory

Willie Briscoe grew up in Portland Oregon with his mother, brother, and two older sisters’. As a very tall kid, one of Willie’s teachers saw a way for him to escape poverty and gain an education, encouraging Willie to start playing basketball. At the age of 18, Willie began playing at a local junior college, and lead his team to a championship. He took a 10-year hiatus from school and basketball, spending a majority of his time doing commercials and print work for companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Powerade. Willie became a Christian at the age of 30 and was then directed by God to return to basketball and school at Point Loma Nazarene University. There, he played basketball for two more years, then coached for a year while earning his degree.

Soon after graduation, Briscoe went on short term mission trip to Malawi. It was after that trip that God pointed him in another direction. Briscoe recalls, “Between the age of 20 and 30 I worked with youth. I was a drug and alcohol counselor, worked with kids in the youth prison systems, and also in prevention – It all came together when God began to give me the vision of Hope Leadership Foundation.”

Hope Leadership Foundation

Hope Leadership Foundation (HLF), in cooperation with Leadership Foundations of America, is an inner-city youth ministry working within the San Diego Unified School District. HLF’s goal is to help kids from kindergarten through college succeed in life by means of mentorship in educational support, sports and recreation and spiritual development.

“I have a vision that through the preaching of the gospel and strong discipleship to young people in both Africa and America, God will transform individuals, therefore transforming communities and creating leaders that will do amazing things to God’s Glory!”

The kids HLF works with most likely come from a fatherless home with no positive male interaction, and all are below the poverty line while establishing the goal of attending college.

SFC Supports Hope Leadership Foundation

SFC has been supporting Hope Leadership Foundation by serving the underserved communities throughout San Diego for years in various capacities. Upper School student-athletes volunteer at HLF sports camps and many SFC families help during the Christmas season at the Toys for Hope event.

Coach Briscoe Mentors at SFC

Coach Briscoe also shares his ministry of discipleship at SFC as he coaches the boys Eagles JV basketball team. “Basketball provides many opportunities to teach life lessons in a safe environment. These life lessons can also be found in the Bible,” beams Coach Briscoe, “and I get an opportunity to use basketball as a tool to prepare young men for a life with God at the center after sports.”

Eagles Basketball Team

Watching the team come together and play team basketball has been a joy for Coach Briscoe. “I am extremely proud of a few players who have taken their roles seriously and put in extra work to significantly improve their game over the last three months.”

Coach Briscoe, his wife, and three children joined the SFC community just this year. “I look forward to working with young players in whatever capacity God calls. As I see it, selfishly I get to do what I love to do and it just happens to be at the school in which my children attend; it’s a win-win for me.”