Pete Gillen, Len Elmore, Nancy Lieberman to be honored with Joe Lapchick Character Award

NEW YORK — Pete Gillen, Len Elmore and Nancy Lieberman will be this year’s recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award.

Gillen helped the Xavier Musketeers to the NCAA tournament seven times and won 202 games. He was the winningest coach in school history until Chris Mack passed him in 2018. Gillen then went to Providence and led the team to the Elite Eight in 1997, upsetting Marquette and Duke and beating Chattanooga before losing in overtime to eventual national champion Arizona.

Elmore played at Maryland and was the school’s all-time leading rebounder. He then played in the NBA for 10 years before becoming a commentator for CBS and ESPN.

Lieberman has been a trailblazer as both a coach and a player. She became the first woman to coach a men’s professional basketball team when she led the Texas Legends in the NBA G League in 2009. She later became the second female to be an assistant in the NBA when she was hired by the Sacramento Kings.

She also became the oldest player to play in the WNBA when she signed a seven-day contract with the Detroit Shock in 2008, when she was 50. She broke her own record set when she was 39 and playing in the inaugural year of the WNBA in 1997.

This is the 13th year the award will be presented. It recognizes those who have shown the character traits of Lapchick, who coached at St. John’s and with the New York Knicks. It wasn’t presented last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The trio will be honored at a luncheon on Sept. 24 in New York.

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