As student retention coordinator at Illinois Central College and head coach of the Central Illinois Drive professional basketball team, now known as the Bloomington Flex, A.J. Guyton has devoted his life to mentoring others. A former player and now coach, he is responsible for planning and executing weekly practices, game strategies, radio and TV appearances, print interviews, player recruitment and mentoring. Under his leadership, the team won back-to-back championship victories, while Guyton was named the Premier Basketball League’s 2013 Coach of the Year.
At ICC, Guyton has helped lead efforts to develop a student tracking and reporting system using handheld computing devices, which has been instrumental in assuring an adequate level of advisor-to-student contact, completion of student enrollment requirements, and overall monitoring of student services. He shares responsibility for recent improvements in minority student retention and course success. He also assembled more than 100 local basketball legends to hold ICC's first major event in the new CougarPlex sports arena, helping to raise more than $26,000 to support the college's Role Model program.
Guyton often talks to area youth groups and assists with youth sports teams and events. He has mentored and trained youth with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, landscaped and cleaned buildings for the United Way Day of Caring, and coached and spoke at numerous basketball camps and in District 150 schools, where he encourages youth to attend college or learn a trade and think beyond a career in sports.
The Big Ten Network recently conducted an extensive interview about Guyton’s life and accomplishments for a new show to air this fall. He is also working with ICC's vice president of diversity, international, and adult education to finalize a second Role Models publication identifying the various professional careers held by former athletes. iBi