ATLANTA (December 13, 2017) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today that Lou Carnesecca and Mimi Griffin have been selected as the 2018 Naismith Outstanding Contributors to Men’s and Women’s Basketball, respectively.

First presented in 1982 to Curt Gowdy, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award is presented annually to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made outstanding contributions and created a long‐lasting positive impact on the game of basketball. The recipients display character, integrity and dignity, and have contributed to the growth, success and viability of the sport. Chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Carnesecca and Griffin will be honored individually and presented with a Naismith-themed plaque.

“I would like to thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club for honoring me with its prestigious Naismith Outstanding Contributor Award,” said Carnesecca. “To be included in the company of so many outstanding basketball coaches, college administrators and media giants who have received this award since its inception in 1982, is a great thrill for me personally.”

“To be named the 2018 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball is an honor that’s hard to comprehend given the significance of the Naismith name in the history of basketball,” said Griffin. “As I reflect on this award, I can’t help but think of the influence that a few key women had in cultivating in me a passion for the game and its history. I am humbled to be included on such an impressive list of past recipients.”

“We’re honored to award two outstanding contributors for their work advancing the game of basketball,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Each year we make a point to select members of the sport who have truly impacted the lives of so many players and fans and brought the spirit of basketball to life. Lou and Mimi exemplify those qualities.”

About Lou Carnesecca: 

• During his 24 seasons as head basketball coach at St. John’s University, “Looie,” as he is affectionately called, compiled a record of 526 wins and 200 losses and directed the team to 20 or more victories a season on 18 separate occasions.

• His teams never failed to qualify for a postseason tournament (18 NCAAs and six NITs).

• In 1991, he became only the 30th NCAA Division I coach to reach the 500-career victory mark. In 1988-89, he directed his team to a record fifth NIT title.

• His NCAA teams advanced to the Final Four in 1985, to the Eastern Regional Final in 1979 and to the regional semifinals in 1967, 1969, 1983 and 1991.

• In 13 years of BIG EAST Conference competition, Carnesecca’s teams had a regular season record of 112-65 and were 13-11 in the BIG EAST tournament.

• He was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year three times and chosen Metropolitan Area Coach of the Year six times by the New York Basketball Writers Association.

• Carnesecca was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1992.

About Mimi Griffin: 

• She is considered to be the first broadcast expert for women’s basketball, serving as ESPN’s primary regular season women’s basketball analyst from 1983-1999 and the color analyst for the NCAA Women’s Final Four on CBS from 1985-1991 and on ESPN from 1992 to 1994.

• She worked as lead studio analyst along with Robin Roberts for ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 1995 to 1999.

The Sports Business Journal named Griffin one of its “Game Changers” in 2013.

• In 1990, she was the first woman color analyst for a NCAA men’s tournament game on ESPN.

• In 1991, she became the first woman to broadcast the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on CBS Sports.

• She founded MSG Promotions, Inc., a sports marketing and management company, in 1983 and has served as the CEO and President since its inception. The United States Golf Association (USGA) selected MSG as the exclusive marketing and management company for corporate hospitality sales, operations and client services for the U.S. Open in 1995 and most recently hired them to handle all corporate hospitality for the U.S. Women’s Open as well.

• In 2009, Griffin was named one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” by Pennsylvania Governor and the Department of Community and Economic Development.

• Griffin was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2014.

Past winners of the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball award:

 Men's Outstanding ContributorWomen's Outstanding Contributor
2017Gary WilliamsAnn Meyers Drysdale
2016Denny CrumAndy Landers
2015Bill RafteryLynette Woodard
2014Bobby CreminsNancy Lieberman
2013Lute OlsonPat Summitt
2012Don MeyerTeresa Edwards
2011Dick EnbergCheryl Miller
2010John Thompson Jr.Marsha Sharp
2009Billy PackerAnne Donovan
2008Dick VitaleJody Conradt
2007Bob KnightKay Yow
2006Jerry ColangeloVal Ackerman
2005Everett CaseLeon Barmore
2004George KillianSonja Hogg
2003Charles “Lefty” DriesellBetty Jaynes
2002Don HaskinsBillie Moore
2001Tex WinterCathy Rush
2000Bill WallHarley Redin
1999C.M. Newton
1998Dean Smith
1997Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen (in memory)
1996Boris Stankovic
1995Victor Bubas
1994Claire F. Bee (in memory)
1993Dave GavittMargaret Wade
1992John McLendon
1991Clarence “Big House” Gaines
1990Frank McGuire
1989Nat Holman
1988Red Auerbach
1987Pete Newell
1986Adolph Rupp (in memory)
1985Hank Iba
1984Ray Meyer
1983John Wooden
1982Curt Gowdy

Celebrating 50 Years of the Citizen Naismith Trophy 

Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Citizen Naismith Trophy recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s High School Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year, Basketball Officials and Outstanding Contributors to the game. Celebrating its 50th year by honoring past winners, the Citizen Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1983.



Traci Messier