The Sixers Hired a Vice President to Focus on “Holistic Development”

via LinkedIn

We got a press release this morning describing the hiring of someone who sounds like a much more important version of a sports psychologist.

It’s not to downplay the resume and career achievements of Annelie Schmittel, PhD , who was a player engagement expert for the Oakland Raiders prior to coming to Philadelphia. But she seems more or less like the Markelle Fultz whisperer, a 2019 type of hire to oversee the mental health and personal development of young athletes who become millionaires at age 20 while being simultaneously thrust into the world’s biggest spotlights.

Per press release:

In her new role as 76ers Vice President of Player Development, Schmittel will be responsible for creating, managing and overseeing the holistic development and implementation of programs that support the professional and personal growth of 76ers players, staff and families.

With nearly a decade of experience in athlete development, Schmittel joins the team after spending the last three seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Also boasting experience working with NCAA Division I and II collegiate athletes, Schmittel is a proven leader with an unparalleled passion for maximizing players’ athletic and personal growth, on and off the court. Under Schmittel’s creative leadership and innovative mindset, the 76ers will continue to augment on-court progress with off-court development and strive to help players balance on-court priorities and personal responsibilities.

This section from her Linkedin bio stood out to me, after the jump:

Annelie’s primary research area is crisis communication in sports. She maintains secondary research interests in the influence of social media technologies in the sports environment (sports organizations, athletes, fans, media outlets), and athlete development.

Jackpot, yeah? How timely considering Joel Embiid’s recent comments about his usage and the whole Brett Brown/Jimmy Butler film session story.

Schmittel’s role places her as the highest-ranking woman in the Sixers’ basketball operations hierarchy, which is cool.

She was featured in a recent ESPNW story, where she describes a family “bootcamp” she organized with the Raiders:

One of my favorite things we did [in Oakland] was a family boot camp. Each rookie — we flew in their family members and did a weekend-long program with them, talking about expectations, financial education and mental health. We address family dynamics and just spend a lot of time with each of them building relationships. I can’t even tell you how positive that was not only for us, but also for the players as they worked on their rookie season. And then also for the parents, because they knew exactly what was coming, what the time demands were, how they could help, how they could hurt the first year of the players. It was also an incredible opportunity for our coaches because, again, it fast-tracked some of the getting to know [them] and getting to know the past of the players and how they respond to situations and challenges and what makes them them.

I wonder if Markelle’s mom will be attending Sixers’ family bootcamp.

Two different thoughts on this hire:

  1. It’s true that young athletes need guidance. They need help transitioning from college to being a professional athlete, help with all of the attention and stress that comes with it. They’ve got agents and parents and friends and coaches telling them what to do, which can be overwhelming. You and I were probably fucking around as college sophomores, going to lame house parties and drinking Natty Light, sleeping until 11 a.m. the next day then firing up Warcraft 3 on the computer. Markelle Fultz went from being a kid to an adult overnight. He didn’t get the same easy transitional experience we did.
  2. An older generation of fans might scoff at the hiring of someone to do “holistic” things, seeing as these players are millionaires with the entire world in front of them. The world is their oyster, or whatever. They’ve got money, fame, cars, and Kendall Jenner. Mental health is a joke and all of that. You’re supposed to perform and be thankful for your talent and success while not being a pussy at the same time. That’s the “Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino’ approach to sports.

Thought #1 is where we are right now as a society. If doing bootcamps and involving family members helps everybody out, then why not do it? Personal development, personal growth, anything that helps mold young players into success stories on and off the court – that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Thought #2 can still be useful though. Some people respond positively to the “man up and get over it” motivator. Some people don’t. I guess that’s why you bring in experts like Annelie Schmittel to come up with a plan.

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  • Esports are the future January 8, 2019 at 11:07 am

    When you draft a kid 1st overall who thinks about Chik-Fil-A first thing and has a “mental” issue to the point that he shoots foul shots like he’s playing HORSE , hiring a hot holistic doctor certainly isn’t the craziest thing they could have done.

  • Lolz January 8, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Professional babysitter, sign me up

  • Oh Jay January 8, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I would love to.

  • Kevin sure spends an awful lot of time (unprompted) trying to convince people he doesn't like imagine dragons January 8, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Kind of makes ya think…

  • Legion of skanks January 8, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Kevin, what sucked about Imagine Dragons? He sang live, he has a huge voice. You said he was off key… what do you know about music? What because this band is popular they can’t be good? You think because you love Dave Matthews that you’re an expert? Piss off

    • Dan Griffoni January 8, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Imagine dragons blows pal.

      • Dan Griffoni January 8, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        Imagine Dragons are awesome, foe.

    • Kevin Kinkead January 8, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      I play three instruments and I hate Dave Matthews Band

      • Keeping it real January 8, 2019 at 9:23 pm

        The only instrument you play is your boyfriends skin flute.

  • Tired of this excuse January 8, 2019 at 11:35 am

    “He didn’t get the same easy transitional experience we did.”

    Neither did Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Anton, Colin Sexton, etc. None of them forgot how to shoot a basketball.

  • Chuck January 8, 2019 at 11:38 am

    A change In coaching first. Brown professes to be somebody who watches over his players but obviously doesn’t. Move-in Monty Johnson, and don’t blame Fultz for the Sixers having such a terrible bench. The kid is hurt and again most of these Philly fans think it’s in his head. Great fans when Philly teams is winning, enemies otherwise.

  • TheMizer January 8, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Wendy Rhodes was unavailable.

  • Thick Ropes Cuz January 8, 2019 at 11:54 am

    She fine

  • BigShot January 8, 2019 at 12:09 pm


  • So Taguchi - Phillies Legend January 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    What this team needs to do is organize a search party to find Mike Muscala.

  • See. Right. Through. January 8, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    “Annelie’s primary research area is crisis communication in sports …”

    That in a nutshell is why she was hired. It’s a marketing position in reality, nothing more. GM s and management know that players tend not to police their own behavior. So when players naturally screw up or say the wrong thing or are caught in a compromising position/situation, teams need someone like this person to put the fire out. Nothing more. Hollywood types have these people or firms on the payroll 24/7. Nothing new. The “holisitic” angle is just a way to sell this to the masses.

    • One Reason January 8, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      She’s here only to spin the fucking Fultz shitshow when they release him becasue he’s a fucking P-u$$$$$$y

  • Larry January 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm


  • thats it? January 8, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    yeah, we need more pics of her.. guessing she likes depressed black poles.

    • Dan from Tinicum January 8, 2019 at 7:46 pm

      Provide proof you piece of shit. Also, you’re a racist piece of shit and given we have Kevin being the Night’s Watch of the comment section, I’m amazed you got through. Here’s some advice: kill yourself


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