ROY WILLIAMS AND CHRIS PLONSKY NAMED 2023 NAISMITH OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTORS TO BASKETBALL AWARD WINNERS BY THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
ATLANTA (December 14, 2022) – Former Kansas and North Carolina men’s basketball head coach and Hall of Famer Roy Williams was named the 2023 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, the organization announced today. In a celebratory season of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Texas Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Chris Plonsky was named the 2023 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball.
Williams and Plonsky were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors and will be honored at the 2023 Final Four.
“The impact that this year’s honorees have had on the game of college basketball is astounding, and their contributions will be felt for decades,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Roy’s on the court successes speak for themselves, but how he developed coaches and players off the court is equally remarkable. And we cannot celebrate women’s basketball without appreciating the role that Chris has played in its meteoric rise. We are proud to call them both Naismith Outstanding Contributors to Basketball award winners.”
First presented in 1982 to Curt Gowdy on the men’s side, and in 1993 to Margaret Wade for women’s, 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.
“I am very flattered. The list of previous Naismith Outstanding Contributor winners is amazing, an exceptional and highly respected group of people that have done so much for the game of basketball,” said Williams. “I am lucky that I loved to do what I was able to do. I never went to work a day in my life as long as I was coaching basketball. To me the key was having great players and great assistant coaches. That carried me a long way and I’m just so happy with that.”
About Roy Williams:
- Spent 10 years as an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina (1978-1988).
- Became the head coach for University of Kansas in 1988 and led them to four Final Four appearances.
- Was named the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year in 1997.
- Returned to the University of North Carolina in 2003 where he remained head coach for 18 years and led the Tar Heels to three national championships (2005, 2009, 2017).
- Won the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2003.
- Appointed to be the U.S Olympic Games Assistant Coach in 2004, where he helped lead the National Men’s basketball team to a bronze medal.
- Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Named Coach of the Decade for 2000-09 by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, and Fox Sports.
- Received the 2022 Gene Bartow Award, which is presented to a current or former coach for his contributions to the game.
- Only coach in history with 400 wins from two different schools (Kansas and North Carolina).
“Basketball long has been a personal love and career passion. I am humbled by and grateful for this honor since so many of our most accomplished and respected basketball leaders, mentors and professionals share it,” said Plonsky. “Thank you to the Atlanta Tipoff Club and Naismith Awards selection committee for this unexpected but appreciated gift. Working with others on behalf of the game continues to be a privilege.”
About Chris Plonsky:
- Earned three letters in basketball at Kent State, served as editor of the school newspaper, and was the student Sports Information Director from 1976-1979.
- Worked in media relations at Iowa State University (1979-81).
- Joined the University of Texas athletics staff in January 1982 as the Women’s Sport Information Director.
- Named Big East Conference Office Director of Public Relations in July 1986 and spent seven years with the league in public relation and assistant commissioner duties.
- Returned to UT Athletics in 1993 as the Associate Athletics Director for External Services. She currently holds the position of Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director.
- USA Basketball board member, a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Collegiate Advisory Council member, and former board member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Former president of the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics (NACDA), National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA), and Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).
- Named the Women Leaders in College Sports Administrator of the year in 2014.
- Inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame (2021).
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
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.
Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club