Coventry Crusaders Basketball Club Founded
Founded in August, 1992 in Coventry, England, UK, Coventry Crusaders Basketball Club entered the National Basketball League (NBL) Division One.
In only the club’s second season, Coventry Crusaders were crowned the 1993/94 National Basketball League Division One Champions and 1994 Playoff Champions.
Inaugural All Star Game
Crusaders hosted the first ever NBL Division One ‘All Star Game’ with great success. A selection of the leagues best players made up the ‘North vs South’ teams.
Wheelchair Basketball Breakthrough
New opportunities were provided to players with varying physical needs as a wheelchair basketball team became part of the Crusaders organization competing in the local Development League.
Elevating the Women's Game
Crusaders started a Women’s team playing in the Leicestershire league along with competitive youth teams in an effort to encourage more female players to participate in basketball at all levels.
Crusader Foundation Launched
A charity set up and run by the Crusaders with the aim of using basketball as a vehicle to reach out to young people irrespective of race, age, sexual orientation, or financial status, and with the goals of promoting positive experiences, healthy lifestyles, team building skills and racial harmony. The Crusader Foundation grew to serve over 1000 children weekly.
New Local Youth League
The Crusader Foundation launched the Central Venue League. A basketball league aimed at providing young people in the Coventry and Warwickshire area the chance to practice and compete in an ever growing sport.
Expansions of Crusaders Women's Teams
Coventry Quality Cats merged under the umbrella of Coventry Crusaders Basketball Club. They had a swift rise through the divisions with honors that included: 1991 Division 2 Playoff Champions/Promotion to Division 1, 1995 National Championship Finalist, 1995 and 1999 National Cup Finalist. Crusaders would continue to run its regional Women’s team in the Leicestershire League.
National League Youth Teams
The introduction of boy’s U14, U16 and U18 teams gave promising young players the chance to train and compete at the national level with a specialized development pathway. Highlights included an unbeaten season and Conference Championship for Crusaders U16 team in only in their second season, along with multiple U16 and U18 Conference Championships in the following seasons.
Alumni Honors for Crusaders Owner
Crusaders owner and player/coach, Dip Donaldson, travelled to the USA with his family to receive the Alumni of the Year Award from his former university, Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. Dip was recognized for his personal achievements as a basketball player, as well as his persistent participation in communities using basketball to guide young people.
Crusaders featured in “Coventry & Warwickshire’s Top 50 Greatest Sporting Moments” run by the city’s leading newspaper – The Coventry Evening Telegraph, as the 1993/94 championship winning team pioneered the club into 28th place in the top 50. This showed that despite the club’s short presence in the city compared to other major sports teams such as the Coventry City Football Club and Coventry Rugby Club, the Crusaders became a recognized and incorporated part of the city.
Filipino Charity Game
International relationships strengthened as the Crusaders held a charity game between Crusaders U16 team and a Filipino All Stars team. The event took place as a fundraiser for Crusaders Foundation and Filipino based Handog Natin, providing great entertainment and cultural appreciation for the local community.
Relocating to the USA
Coach and club Owner Dip Donaldson along with his wife Beth, and their 6 children moved “across the pond” to Longmont, Colorado, USA, leaving daily operations of Coventry Crusaders Basketball Club in trusted hands.
Crusaders activities begin stateside
Crusaders activities began in the USA with multiple boys and girls training sessions along with competitive AAU teams.
The End of an Era
This was to be the final season before pulling out of all National League competition in the UK, ending a legendary era of the Coventry Crusaders Basketball Club.
A New Vision - DIP Crusaders
It was during this period where the vision began to take shape for “DIP Crusaders” – Developing International Players. Based on former experiences, shared passions, and a window of opportunity to further the game of basketball worldwide, the first steps for the next chapter of Crusaders Basketball were in place.
Crusaders in China
As part of our International Basketball Development, a group of Crusaders coaches visited Kunming, China, to provide multiple basketball camps for several hundred young players.
Crusaders International Reignited
In Colorado Springs, CO, USA, we reignited Crusaders International – the nonprofit organization which DIP Crusaders operates under. The goal remained the same; to provide young players unique development opportunities, unite players from all walks of life and grow the game of basketball worldwide.
There were many exciting “firsts’ throughout the year. Skills sessions were introduced for local players, new camp opportunities were provided as well as the inaugural Crusaders Invitational event. A very encouraging year where hundreds of lives were positively impacted through the game of basketball. The future looks bright on and off the court!
Crusaders Basketball History
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