The Sons of Thunder Coalition was conceived in 1995 after it's founder, Michael Copeland, who was inspired by the historic Million Man March which brought over one million men to Washington D.C., to atone for past failures and to make the commitment to be better men and to improve lives of family and the community. In 1995, Michael Copeland needed such inspiration. He was suffering emotionally and spiritually after experiencing the lost of his four year old son, Dorian who died unexpectedly, only a few years earlier.
After the Million Man March, Copeland wanted to do something for the community and as a tribute to honor his son. Copeland brought the idea of having a youth program to the Rev. Larry D. Couch who was pastor of the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Bloomfield. The first event was the a 12 team men's basketball tournament called, the Sons of Thunder Basketball Jam, which took place at Weaver High School. The success of this event led to the Sons of Thunder Basketball League which began in June of 1996.
For the first three years there was a men and youth league. But with limited staffing and a growing league, the board of directors decided to focus on youth basketball and other youth development services like college and prep tours, a homework club, career exploration and field trips.
Besides these programs, the Sons of Thunder Scholarship & Awards Banquet had been the most popular event. The event went from church dining rooms with less than one hundred attendees to venues like the Hartford Hilton Hotel with more than 400 attendees, with over half being youth. The gala honored achieving student athletes and offered 50 scholarships over a ten year period. Some of the featured guest who appeared at our banquet were Heisman Trophy Winner and NBA player Charlie Ward, NBA Hall of Famer David Thompson, NBA All Star Vin Baker, NBA finals MVP Cedric Maxwell and many others.
The Sons of Thunder Coalition reopened it's doors in July of 2017 with the Hartford Basketball Legends Reunion Celebration Weekend. The weekend featured three events that honored the history of Hartford basketball and its most significant pioneers from 1954-1984. Over one thousand people came out to support the events including Hall of Famer, Jim Calhoun, NBA players Rick Mahorn and Michael Adams. Presently the SOT seeks to continues its legacy of influencing student athletes by making them productive citizens for the twenty first century.