History: Naismith Awards

naismith trophy white background.smEach year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors chooses the 50 pre-season “Naismith Watch” list as well as the mid-season team of 30 candidates. The Naismith voting academy narrows that group down to four finalists who will make up the final ballot. The voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, base its criteria on player performance throughout the season.

The Naismith Trophy is awarded annually to the men’s and women’s college basketball players of the year.

Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, creator of the game of basketball, the first trophy was awarded to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in 1969.

The Women’s Player of the Year Award was first given to Anne Donovan of Old Dominion University in 1983.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club established the Outstanding Contribution Award in 1982 to honor those men and women who have had a positive impact on the game of basketball.

Established in 1987, the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award and the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award were originally given to the coaches of the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Tournament champions. In 1989, the governing board changed the selection criteria to the voting process used today.

Each year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors first votes to compile a top 25 list of coaches for each award. Then, through additional votes, the list is narrowed down to four and finally, the national winner.

In 1987, to honor the nation’s best boy’s and girl’s high school basketball players, the Naismith Trophy Boy’s High School Player of the Year and the Naismith Trophy Girl’s High School Player of the Year were established.

Each honor is selected annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club Board of Selectors. The board votes to compile a top 10 list of players from across the country for both awards. The winners are then selected by a board vote.

In 2008, the Naismith High School Boy’s Coach of the Year and Girl’s Coach of the Year categories were created.
The national Naismith Awards recognize the top national, regional and local players, coaches, officials and administrators who have displayed excellence and outstanding achievement in basketball. Winners are honored for the following awards:

  • Men’s and Women’s College Player of the Year
  • Men’s and Women’s College Coach of the Year
  • Men’s and Women’s College Official of the Year (Lifetime Achievement)
  • Men’s and Women’s Outstanding Contributor to Basketball (Lifetime Achievement) delivered by UPS
  • National Boy’s and Girl’s High School Player of the Year Presented by Hilton Worldwide
  • National Boy’s and Girl’s High School Coach of the Year