The Jr. Knicks Coach of The Year program, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), celebrates coaches who embody the values that make a positive impact on young basketball players, both on the court and in the community. The Knicks and HSS will choose six nominees, five finalists will each win $2,000 and our Coach of the Year will be awarded $20,000 and be entered as the Knicks representative in the Jr. NBA's National Coach of the Year Program.
2023 Jr. Knicks and HSS Coach of the Year
Coach Helen Settles | Head Coach, Staten Island Special Olympics Basketball
Coach Helen Settles has been coaching for 53 years in Staten Island. While playing WBB at Wagner College in 1975 she co-founded the Staten Island Special Olympics Basketball Team, a team she now coaches, and since then has continued to use basketball as a tool to connect and better her players and their communities. While teaching Social Studies and Special Education she started The United Sports Program, a program dedicated to letting special education students and general education students play basketball and compete together, since retiring from teaching she has continued to run the program for 20+ years. Helen is not only passionate about basketball but about empowering the youth she coaches on and off the court. Helen is a community hero who exemplifies her devotion to the youth, to the differently abled, the marginalized and the homeless communities among others every day. In addition to coaching Helen sits on the board of directors for Project Hospitality, acts as treasurer for her local NAACP Chapter, is a member of the Harriet Tubman Purple Hats Society and runs multiple tournaments, clinics and summer basketball leagues each year free of charge for the youth in Staten Island to participate in.
Dedication and sacrifice for the betterment of his/her youth basketball organization.
Principles of fairness and respect – win, lose or draw, the coach has been honest.
Continually looks to improve and sacrifice without the expectation for a return.
Serves as a role model and mentor for young athletes on and off the court.
Participates in community service initiatives within his/her community.