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Michigan State University

Grand Marshal Sam Vincent

Grand Marshal Sam Vincent

Grand Marshal Sam Vincent

Michigan State University alum and 2024 Homecoming Grand Marshal, Sam Vincent, is a shining example of what it means to be a globally engaged leader. As a 1985 Spartan alum who earned Sporting News All-America honors, Vincent harnessed the ambition and team-building skills he developed as a student and transformed it into a successful career as a professional basketball player and coach.  

A native of Lansing, MI, Vincent was the first recipient of the State of Michigan’s “Mr. Basketball” award in 1981 when playing at Eastern High School. He became a valued member of MSU’s men’s basketball team as a point guard while attending the College of Arts and Letters where he studied Communication Arts and Theater, with an interest in Broadcasting, from 1981 to 1985.  

During his final year at Michigan State, Vincent was drafted to the Boston Celtics, where he played two seasons and won an NBA Championship ring. Over the course of his seven-year career, Vincent went on to play for the Seattle SuperSonics and the Chicago Bulls before bringing his talent to the Orlando Magic in 1989. When Vincent’s time as a player ended in 1992, his aptitude for leadership and love of the game guided him toward a career in coaching. He coached a number of professional teams across the country, before taking his Spartan pride worldwide with coaching positions in South Africa, Europe, China, Greece, the Netherlands and Nigeria, where he led the Nigerian women's basketball team to victory in the 2004 Summer Olympics.  

Vincent returned to the States in 2022 when he was offered a coaching position at Beacon College. Located in Leesburg, Florida, Beacon College specifically serves students with learning differences. Since assuming this coaching position, Vincent has worked to expand his teams’ playing options, moving them from an intramural team to a competitive one, and even arranging for them to travel to Michigan to play against Lansing Community College and Jackson Community College. In addition to his formal coaching position, he organizes sports clinics for athletes with learning differences to help build supportive competitive experiences for these athletes, as well as educate others on how to properly coach, develop and integrate players with learning differences into their teams. His interest in athletic and educational inclusivity was brought to the forefront by his time at MSU where he experienced the Spartan commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Using his connections within the MSU alumni community, Vincent works to give his players a dynamic crowd experience by packing the stands with fellow Spartan alumni; connecting them with Tom Izzo, the Celtics, the Bulls; and cultivating a dedicated and supportive fanbase for his team.  

As a student, athlete and coach, Vincent’s achievements speak to his ability to bring people together and unite around a collective passion. Whether traveling across the country or around the world, he brings MSU’s culture of leadership and service wherever he goes, exemplifying what it means to be a Spartan and we are thrilled to welcome him home this fall as the 2024 Homecoming Grand Marshal. 

Author: Anna Ludlow