ATLANTA (February 3, 2021) – The 2021 Naismith Outstanding Contributors to Men’s and Women’s Basketball were announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club as Tom Jernstedt, who will be honored posthumously, and Carol Stiff, respectively. Chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Stiff will be honored later this year, and Jernstedt’s family will receive the award in his honor.

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.

“Our whole family is honored to accept the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball honor on behalf of Tom,” said Derek Jernstedt, Tom’s son. “While he never aspired for awards or any attention as an administrator, he always worked tirelessly on behalf of student-athletes and professionals. As he said, he was raised to chase his dreams and felt he had the best job in the world. We miss him and thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club for this special recognition.”

“It is an honor to be recognized as this year’s Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball award recipient,” said Stiff. “Those who have received this award before me are truly a remarkable group to now be a part of. I am privileged to be honored alongside Naismith Hall of Famer and ‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernstedt.”

“Our recipients are people who have truly impacted the lives of so many players and fans, as well as bring the spirit of basketball to life,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.  “Carol has elevated the women’s game to reach millions of television viewers, and Tom helped develop the collegiate basketball postseason to the intricate and exciting tournament we have today. It’s a privilege for us to honor and welcome them into the Naismith Awards family.”

About Tom Jernstedt:

  • Jernstedt attended the University of Oregon, where he played quarterback from 1964-67, and later, he joined the athletic department at his alma mater where he served in administrative positions between 1969-72.
  • From 1972-2010, he worked at the NCAA in various roles, including managing events and overseeing branding to negotiating TV and corporate-sponsorship contracts.
  • Jernstedt oversaw his first Final Four in March 1973 and is credited with guiding the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship to what it is today.
  • He became associated with USA Basketball in 1975, serving as a member of its Council, then two stints as vice president from 1997-2000 and the organization’s president from 2001-04.
  • In 2009, he was awarded USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award.
  • He was enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2010 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • In 2011, Jernstedt was given the John Bunn Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

About Carol Stiff:

  • Stiff attended Southern Connecticut State College and played on the women’s basketball team.
  • She served as assistant women’s coach at Western Connecticut State College from 1983-1985.
  • From 1985-1988, she was head women’s basketball coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, compiling a 45-22 record.
  • Currently, Stiff is the Vice President Women’s Sports Programming & Acquisitions at ESPN and has had the opportunity to shape and influence the rapid growth of women’s basketball and the media coverage it receives.
  • She was responsible for getting NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship games on ESPN and created the Tennessee vs. UConn match-up for ESPN, a rivalry that ranks among the best in college athletics.
  • In 2001, she was presented with the WBCA’s Presidential Award for her “tireless commitment” to women’s basketball.
  • In June 2021, Stiff will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Past winners of the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball award:

YearMen's Outstanding ContributorWomen's Outstanding Contributor
2020Jim NantzBeth Bass
2019Verne LundquistCarol Callan
2018Lou CarneseccaMimi Griffin
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


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, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]