Vol. 43, No. 2 • January 2006 • .pdf version
• Tony Barnhart: Big O a big plus
• Andy Katz: Courage candidates aplenty
• Joe Mitch: Indy breakfast a highlight
• Dick Jerardi: Press row model in Philly
• Tech tips: Time to clean house

Joe Mitch

Breakfast at Indy will be highlight of Final Four

By JOE MITCH / Executive Director

For the second year in a row, the USBWA will honor its national college player and coach of the year at a breakfast during the NCAA Final Four.

This year's event will be held at Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis on Friday morning, March 31, the day before the national semifinals.

Last year, the USBWA initiated the player and coach breakfast at the Final Four in St. Louis and the event was a huge success, attracting a sellout crowd of over 500 people.

Officials at Conseco Fieldhouse have agreed to host this year's breakfast in the atrium leading into the arena. The area is spacious with seating in excess of 600. Events similar to the USBWA breakfast have been held in the Conseco atrium in the past.

Coordinating the breakfast in Indianapolis is former USBWA president Bill Benner, now working for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.

In addition to presenting the player and coach of the year awards, the USBWA also plans to honor the 1981 and 1976 Indiana Hoosiers on the 25th and 30th anniversaries, respectively, of each team's national championship. The 1976 Hoosiers were also the last NCAA Division l team to go undefeated, finishing the season with a 32-0 record.

Honoring the two Indiana teams continues a tradition of recognizing individuals for their accomplishments that was started last season.

Last year, the USBWA honored three retiring coaches at the breakfast – Lou Henson of New Mexico State, Tom Brennan of Vermont and Gene Keady of Purdue. The breakfast concluded with Bruce Weber of Illinois receiving the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award and Andrew Bogut of Utah the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy.

Discussions also are underway with city officials about Indianapolis possibly serving as the permanent host for a USBWA player and coach of the year awards dinner.

Indianapolis makes a lot of sense, as it is the home of the NCAA and amateur sports, making for a captive audience each year for the USBWA awards presentation.

And it's where Oscar Robertson grew up and made a name for himself in high school basketball before going on to receive All-America and player of the year honors at Cincinnati and later an all-star career in the NBA.

Announcing the USBWA player of the year award each year in Indianapolis or any other city on a permanent basis would follow the pattern set by two other major player of the year awards – the Wooden and Naismith. Both hold similar dinners at permanent sites to present their awards each year – the Wooden in Los Angeles and the Naismith in Atlanta.

Both the Wooden and Naismith are held during the week after the Final Four, and the USBWA would have to find a date that week for its event in Indianapolis.

All doable, of course, but at this point nothing is finalized. The USBWA board of directors would make the final decision on whether or not to keep the award presentation as is or move it on a permanent basis to Indianapolis.

USBWA looking for longtime members: In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the USBWA would like to recognize those current members who have maintained membership in the organization the longest since the USBWA’s inception in 1956. Since records dating back to the formative years of the USBWA are incomplete, members are asked to e-mail their names and years of membership to Joe Mitch, executive director, at mitch@usbwa.com.
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