Sept. 28, 2006
KINGSTON, RI - The New England Basketball Hall of Fame has announced a new award that recognizes New England college basketball programs, which encourage classroom achievement, athletic success, and post-graduate career success.
The first two recipients of the Hall's Scholar-Athlete Program of Excellence Award are the men's basketball program at Amherst College and the women's basketball program at the College of the Holy Cross. The coaches of those two programs, Dave Hixon and Bill Gibbons, respectively, will accept the prestigious award during the 2006 New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 6 at the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island.
``This is the most important award we have ever given at the New England Basketball Hall of Fame,'' said Daniel E. Doyle, Jr., executive director of the Institute for International Sport, which administers the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
"All too often, a number of college athletes leave school without the skills required by a global economy," Doyle said. "For this reason, it's extremely important to recognize intercollegiate basketball programs which are committed to developing the whole person and not just the athlete. Based on all of the factors we considered, we concluded that there are no finer intercollegiate basketball programs in America than the Amherst men and the Holy Cross women."
Consider the following:
Under the leadership of Coaches Gibbons and Hixon, the graduation rates of both programs are nearly 100%.
In the 21-year tenure of Coach Gibbons, the Holy Cross women's program has compiled a record of 429-197. The team has gone to 12 post-season tournaments.
In the 29-year tenure of Coach Hixon, the Amherst men's program has compiled a record of 520-219. The team has been nationally ranked on a consistent basis, and has competed in 2 Division III Final Fours, 2 Elite 8's and 2 Sweet Sixteens in the past 12 years.
The women's basketball program at Holy Cross has seen many of its players go on to successful, varied careers. They include:
*Lauren Maney George, class of '96, who graduated with a grade point average of 3.65 while racking up 1,721 points on the court, who is now an attorney working as a forensic auditor for the federal government.
*Monika Rothemich, class of ` 01, the only Holy Cross basketball player, male or female, to compete in four NCAA Tournaments, who is currently a medical student at Georgetown University.
*Janet Hourihan Brooks, class of '86, who holds the record for rebounds as a Crusader, with 1,178, who is a corporate human resources executive.
*Dr. Kathleen Courtney, class of '97, one of the 15 COSIDA Academic All-Americans at Holy Cross in Gibbons' tenure, who is a pediatrician practicing in Winchester, Mass.
Bill Gibbons, the coach of Holy Cross' women's team, said he has always talked to his players about ``academic success being number one in our program and basketball number two and that the lessons that one learns in both areas will prove to be invaluable upon graduation.''
``We're thrilled to receive this prestigious award,'' Gibbons said.
Presentation of the Scholar-Athlete Program of Excellence Award will be one of the highlights of this year's induction ceremony, which is expected to draw approximately 1,000 people to the Kingston campus of URI. The Friday evening event begins at 7 p.m. at the Ryan Center. Tickets cost $125 per person and can be purchased by calling Dr. Malcolm Mac Kenzie at 9401) 874-2673 or by visiting the Institute's website at: www.internationalsport.com/basketball/bhof_ticket.cfm.
Other inductees from Holy Cross include Bob Foley, Gordon Hamilton, Earle Markey, Chris Potter, Bill Raynor (coach), William Samko (trainer), Janet Hourihan Brooks and Sherry Levin.