WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army appointed a new Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army recently during an investment ceremony at the National CASA Conference in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Honorable Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Army, selected William "Bill" H. Hanzlik to represent Colorado (North).

"I have been blessed through my career with many wonderful roles," Hanzlik said. "As co-founder and CEO of the Gold Crown Foundation, an NBA player and coach, Denver Nuggets color analyst, and a higher education trustee for three different Colorado institutions, I networked with experts in many valuable ways and had the opportunity to meet and learn from many incredible leaders.

"My passion to help others is personified by the tagline for my Gold Crown Foundation, 'Preparing Kids for the Game of Life.' I am so honored to be selected to serve as a CASA for Northern Colorado and help the soldiers and families of our proud United States military."

"Bill, you have an extensive background in community relations and I have no doubt that you will continue in that role while advocating for our Soldiers and their families," said Esper. "It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the CASA program."

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a mechanical engineering degree, Hanzlik has had a distinguished career in serving others. Following an 11-year career as an NBA player with the Seattle Supersonics and Denver Nuggets, he coached seven more years with the Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, and Nuggets. He was elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

He then immersed himself in the Gold Crown Foundation and helped the organization become one of the largest and most respected youth sports and education organizations in Colorado. Today, the Gold Crown Foundation serves approximately 15,000 youth in sports and STEM programs.

Hanzlik's passion for education led him to serve as a trustee for 17 years with three different Colorado higher education colleges and universities. He worked with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and helped create the largest annual native American basketball tournament in the U.S. One of his most proud achievements he said is creating the semi-annual "Kid Military Day," which brings more than 200 elementary and junior high students from Fort Carson military families to Denver. While there, the families enjoy a day of sports and education activities followed by a Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, or Colorado Rockies game.

CASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues.

Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities for which they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.

CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of service with distinguished service.