The Joe Lapchick Character Award Foundation

The Joe Lapchick Character Award Foundation is committed to encouraging and promoting good character in the sport of basketball. Each November the foundation recognizes a group of iconic basketball figures, from all levels of men's and women's basketball, who have demonstrated honorable character throughout their careers much like the legendary Coach Joe Lapchick.

The Beginning

The idea of the "Character Award" was founded by Lapchick: The Life of a Legendary Player and Coach in the Glory Days of Basketball, author Gus Alfieri.

Alfieri, a former player on Coach Lapchick's 1959 St John"s NIT Championship team, wanted to do more to preserve the memories of his coach who was so revered in the eyes of everyone who met him.

There could not be a better time to focus attention on character in sports but the present and Joe Lapchick is the model for the person we should look to.
- Gus Alfieri

With the assistance of AP Hall of Fame writer Jim O'Connell, former chairman Bob Livingston and current chairman Dan Sacco, the foundation was created with the goal of preserving the legacy of Joe Lapchick by recognizing good character in basketball. The committee agreed to host an annual event to honor those who demonstrated Coach Lapchick-like characteristics.

The event is held each November to coincide with the 2K Sports Classic doubleheader at Madison Square Garden where Joe Lapchick once ruled the sidelines. The Award Recipients are presented their award at an afternoon ceremony at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel and then again honored in between games at The Garden. Check out our ticket options for both the Award Ceremony and the 2K sports Classic.

Now in its 7th year, The foundation has honored some of the most respected names in men's and women's High School and College basketball including Dean Smith, Pat Summitt and Bobby Hurley Sr. Check out our complete list of former award recipients.

If you have stories that you would like to share about your coach, let us know about them here.

Character Award Trophy