Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, the only Division I men’s coach with 1,000 victories and who has led the Blue Devils to five national championships, and women’s basketball pioneer Lucille Kyvallos of Queens College have been named the 2015 recipients of the Lapchick Character Award.
The winners of the eighth annual awards were announced Monday. The award is named for the Naismith Hall of Fame coach and is presented by a group that includes Joe Lapchick biographer and former player Gus Alfieri. It recognizes those who have shown the character traits of Lapchick, who coached at St. John's and with the New York Knicks.
The awards will be presented at a luncheon in New York on Nov. 20 with the recipients honored that night during the 2K Classic, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden. See ticket options here.
Duke will be playing that night in the final round of the four-team tournament and Madison Square Garden has been the site of two of Krzyzewski’s biggest accomplishments. The Blue Devils beat Michigan State there in 2011 to make Krzyzewski the winningest coach in Division I history and then four years later they beat St. John’s there for his 1,000th victory.
Duke capped last season with his fifth national championship _ second only to John Wooden’s 10 titles at UCLA _ and the Blue Devils featured three freshmen who all went on to become first-round NBA draft picks. The first of his titles came in 1991 and when the Blue Devils repeated the next season, he became the first coach to win consecutive titles since Wooden.
He has directed his teams to 12 Final Fours, tied for the most by a coach in NCAA history. Since 1985, Krzyzewski has an NCAA-record 88 NCAA Tournament victories, 23 more than the next-closest active coach (North Carolina’s Roy Williams) during that time. All but 10 of the 80 players who have completed four years of eligibility at Duke since 1986 have played in the Final Four, with 65 having played in at least one NCAA Championship game.
Krzyzewski has won two Olympic gold medals as head of the U.S. National Team and he will coach the team again in the 2016 Games. His achievements in 40 seasons as a college head coach include 64 All-ACC Academic Team selections and his off the court service has been just as impressive with Krzyzewski leading causes that have raised millions of dollars while bringing awareness to cancer research efforts as well as literacy programs for young students.
Madison Square Garden also played a huge part in the coaching career of Kyvallos, who led Queens College to the top of women's college basketball in its early years. She served as coach at Queens from 1968-79 and 1980-81, compiling a record of 239-77. She led Queens to the 1973 AIAW national championship game, losing to Immaculata College in what many consider the game that drew national attention to the sport.
A rivalry blossomed between the programs and in 1975 the schools played at Madison Square Garden. A crowd of about 12,000 welcomed women’s basketball into the mainstream sports world.
Kyvallos also coached on the international level, leading the U.S. team to a silver medal at the World University Games in Bulgaria in 1977.
She was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Previous winners of the Lapchick Award, which was first presented in 2008, include Naismith Hall of Famers Carnesecca, Dean Smith, Pat Summitt, John Thompson Jr., Bob Hurley Sr., Pete Carril, Jody Conradt, Cathy Rush, Morgan Wootten, Pete Newell, C.M. Newton, Don Haskins and Kay Yow.