NBA Legend & Former Villanova Assistant Coach Launch 'Friends of Nova' Name, Image, and Likeness Collective Around Villanova University Student-Athletes

Randy Foye & Ashley Howard Lead Collective to Maximize NIL Endorsement Opportunities and Help Student-Athletes Grow their Brands

PHILADELPHIA, October 11, 2022 (Newswire) – Former members of the Villanova Wildcats family and community leaders in the Philadelphia area have partnered with Blueprint Sports, the industry leader in full-service Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collectives, to unveil Friends of Nova – the first NIL collective supporting men’s basketball student-athletes at Villanova University. As one of the nation’s premier basketball programs, the Villanova Wildcats have won the NCAA D-1 National Championships three times, most recently in 2016 and 2018.

Friends of Nova is spearheaded by Randy Foye and Ashley Howard, two legacy members and well-known figures of the Villanova men’s basketball family. Both having deep ties to Villanova University’s athletics program, Howard and Foye will serve as co-executive directors of the Friends of Nova collective. Howard previously served as the assistant coach for Villanova University’s men’s basketball team from 2013 to 2018 under then-Head Coach Jay Wright. Foye played on Villanova University’s men’s basketball team from 2002 to 2006, before being drafted in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft and beginning his professional basketball career.

“Playing basketball at Villanova University was the honor of a lifetime and this opportunity to kick off Friends of Nova really means a lot to me,” said Foye. “We are thrilled to give back and work hand-in-hand with supporters, fans, community members and alumni to build something meaningful and open doors to new possibilities for future generations of student-athletes.”

Local and national businesses, as well as community supporters, have multiple options to engage with Villanova student-athletes. Friends of Nova builds partnerships between businesses, brands, and student-athletes for marketing opportunities, including online influencer campaigns, local appearances, youth sports coaching, speaking engagements, and more. Additionally, tax-deductible contributions can also be made through the BPS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) partner organization formed to educate, encourage, and assist student-athletes in their efforts to engage with the local community through charitable causes.

“Friends of Nova will allow us to help provide opportunities for student-athletes to not only capitalize on their name, image and likeness, but connect with their community and learn about financial literacy,” said Howard. “I look forward to spearheading this initiative alongside Randy to help support our Wildcat family and help the Villanova community be a part of something bigger.”

For more information visit and follow @FriendsofNova on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Media Contact:

For “Friends of Nova” and Blueprint Sports – The Ferraro Group Halley Metcalfe – (702) 969-9004 /


Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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