Coach J. McInnis started Tennessee Panthers Basketball with his college roommate with the goal that, through leadership and accountability, young men would achieve success.
Growing up, mentorship from his own coaches had enabled McInnis to succeed, so he felt compelled to give his own time and abilities back to the community. Tennessee Panthers Basketball is a basketball program that aims to better kids' success on and off the court, operating under the mission statement, "Instilling success today for a successful tomorrow."
Through practices and commitment, the Tennessee Panthers grew into much more than a basketball team. The program quickly created bonds between coaches and players that have endured for almost a decade. Now in his ninth year with Tennessee Panthers Basketball, McInnis still checks in with his past players because, for him, the commitment to his team doesn't end when players go off to college. "My mindset is always I have more to do," he explained.
McInnis is motivated, and his passion permeates through an attitude that says there has been progress, but there is still further to go. He doesn't take the time to look back on how far his players have come because his eyes are always set on their futures. He visits with current and past players to make sure their grades are good and they are staying out of trouble. McInnis is fully devoted to changing young men's lives by holding them accountable and giving them opportunities to create a future for themselves through basketball. When players say they'll return the favor one day, his response is, "The only thing you owe me is a college degree."
This simple, selfless response reveals McInnis' goal for each young man he influences. He wants them to succeed by gaining a college degree that will carry them into a better life. McInnis' dedication is evident - weekly practices, traveling to tournaments three times a month during the season, paying some fees out-of-pocket and remaining a constant mentor to each of his players.
More than a basketball program, the Tennessee Panthers is a community. McInnis volunteers to give young men a future and, in doing so, he gave them a family.
As one player put it, "There's no family stronger than ours."
Nashville's Volunteer of the Month is a program of Doing Good, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization which educates and inspires more people to volunteer by celebrating the real stories of real people who volunteer in the community. For additional information about Coach McInnis, Doing Good or other volunteers, visit www.DoingGood.tv or @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.