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Inspiring coach Mike Powell featured on Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network at 9 pm on Sept. 12



Show Features the Inspirational Stories of West Virginia University Cornerbacks Coach Daron Roberts; Oak Park and River Forest High School Wrestling Coach Mike Powell; and Aazar Abdul- Raheem, Football Coach of Washington, D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy – Andy Staples, Chris Ballard and B.J. Schecter Report

The second episode of Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network features the inspirational stories of Daron Roberts, West Virginia University cornerbacks coach; Mike Powell wrestling coach for Oak Park and River Forest High School (Oak Park, IL) and Aazar Abdul-Raheem Head Football Coach for Washington D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy.

All, through great personal sacrifice and courage, inspire their teams and communities in ways that transcend the final score.

The new episode debuts Wednesday, September 12, 9 p.m. with subsequent re-airs throughout the month.

Coach Mike Powell: Powell wrestled from boyhood to college, a phenomenal athlete who achieved much but never seemed to reach his potential until he started coaching his old high school team. On the day OPRF won its first state championship, Powell noticed something wrong. A few weeks later he was diagnosed with polymyositis ‑ a rare disorder that makes the immune system attack the body instead of protecting it. The disease has no known cause or cure. Facing a grim prognosis with a rapidly deteriorating condition that will eventually cause him to lose vital physical capabilities, Powell continues to coach. Senior writer Chris Ballard reports.

Powell has coached numerous champion athletes, including 2012 Greco-Roman Olympian Ellis Coleman, USOTC resident Greco-Roman athlete Pete Kowalczuk and the Dardanes twins (Chris and Nick), who now compete at the Univ. of Minnesota. His teams are among the best in Illinois and the nation. He is very active with USA Wrestling, receiving the Junior Greco-Roman Coach of the Year award this summer.

Coach Daron Roberts: While attending Harvard Law School, Roberts spent two weeks with then Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach researching a paper. And just like that he dropped his dreams of being governor of Texas or even making a run for president – he had found a new calling. Roberts sent 164 letters to coaches around the country and received one offer: a three-week unpaid internship from former Kansas City Chiefs football coach Herm Edwards. Not quite the Supreme Court clerkships his classmates were pursuing but enough of an opportunity for Roberts to leave for training camp on the day he was scheduled to take the Bar Exam. Today, he’s one of the sport’s most promising young coaches. Senior writer Andy Staples reports.

Coach Aazar Abdul-Raheem: Since opening its doors in 2000, Washington, D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy has transformed itself into one of the most respected programs in the country, one that earned 19 college football scholarships for the class of 2012. The program is led by a fierce coach able to overcome a lack of resources ‑ no home field, locker room or weight room ‑ and the challenges of Ward Seven one of the District’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. “Hey Coach there’s a dead body on the field,” is a recent scene that Abdul-Raheem recounts for us in the piece. Executive editor B.J. Schecter reports.

“Sports Illustrated” Presented by Lexus is, a monthly, hour-long sports magazine TV show produced by NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated. The show will deliver the magazine’s DNA of award-winning storytelling through feature segments, original reporting and commentary from SI’s trusted journalists. Emmy Award-winning Red Line Films has been tapped to produce the show.

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