KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the first time in program history the Gallaudet University men's basketball team earned the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Team Academic Excellence Award as announced on Wednesday. The 2016-17 NABC Team Academic Excellence Awards are the fifth annual released by the organization.
These awards recognize outstanding academic achievement by a team with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better for the 2016-17 season. In order to earn a NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, institutions in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA must count the grade point averages of all men’s student-athletes who competed during the 2016-17 season.
The NABC recognized 210 different programs. Gallaudet is the lone representative from the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and joins The Catholic University of America as they only programs from the District of Columbia on the list.
"It speaks volumes in what we believe and strive for in our program. Academics is just as important as our basketball skills and building their character that will help them become successful after they earn their degrees and graduate," said Gallaudet men's basketball coach Kevin Kovacs. "We are tremendously proud of their hard work on and off the court along with their record-breaking season. They have set the bar high for future teams to follow and build on."
Gallaudet finished the 2016-17 season with a program record 20 wins and 18 conference wins to earn the GU's first NEAC Men's Basketball South Division regular-season championship. The Bison earned the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament where they fell in the semifinals. Gallaudet earned four all-conference honors and Kovacs was named NEAC Coach of the Year.
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education. For additional information about the NABC, its programs and membership, go to www.nabc.org.