May 11, 2009
WORCESTER, Mass. - On Thursday, April 30, 2009, Holy Cross women's basketball head coach, Bill Gibbons, was the recipient of the 2009 Paul N. Johnson Award. This award is given to a member of the Worcester community that has greatly contributed to Worcester area basketball. Recipients of the award include members that are involved at the high school and college levels or a combination of both levels where Worcester area basketball has been greatly enhanced from the efforts of the recipients.
An outstanding Worcester Telegram sports editor for 30 years, Paul N. Johnson was a promoter of Worcester area basketball at all levels. He was presented with the award by Worcester Area College Basketball Association in 1970. The award was named after him in 1975.
To date, the award has been presented 42 times after first being presented in 1965 at the Worcester Area College Basketball Association banquet. Of the recipients, 21 area coaches, 10 media personnel, six collegiate athletic administrators, three game officials and two former outstanding sports personalities have been presented with this award.
Past honorees including former Holy Cross and Boston Celtics player, Bob Cousy, who was the recipient in 1976 and Holy Cross radio broadcaster Bob Fouracre in 1981 and 1995. Other recipients of the award are former Holy Cross Athletic Director Ron Perry in 1992, former Holy Cross men's basketball coach George Blaney in 1993, Holy Cross women's administrator Ann Zelesky in 1994 and former high school and Holy Cross women's basketball head coach Togo Palazzi in 2005. Gibbons' father, William Gibbons Sr., received the award in 1987.
"I am extremely humbled and honored by this award," said Gibbons. "The Paul N. Johnson Award recipients are a who's who of basketball in our area. All of my role models and idols as a young boy growing up in Worcester have won this award, including my dad. However, I feel that it should be me thanking the great game of basketball for its contributions to my life rather than me receiving an award for contributions to basketball. The bonds, relationships and the lifelong friendships that I have made in my 29 years at Holy Cross are truly immeasurable. What I have given to basketball pales in comparison to all that one great game has given me. This is an award I will truly cherish."