ATLANTA (March 1, 2017) — Naomi Graves, head coach at Springfield College, is the recipient of the 2017 Carol Eckman Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced today.
The Carol Eckman Award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach, who is considered the “Mother of the Women’s Collegiate Basketball Championship.” Eckman organized the first women’s basketball championship at West Chester in 1969, and continued to garner recognition and support for the women’s game until her death from cancer in 1985.
The WBCA presents the award annually to an active member coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.
"I am pleased to present Naomi Graves with the Carol Eckman Award,” said Danielle Donehew, executive director of the WBCA. “Naomi is a talented coach and teacher who has used basketball as a classroom to prepare her student-athletes for success in life. Her unwavering investment over her 31 years as head coach has bettered our game and reminds us of the late Carol Eckman.
This season marks Graves’ 26th with the Pride. While at Springfield, Graves paced squads to 14 postseason bids, including six berths in the NCAA Division III tournament. Her guidance also led to six New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships and three NEWMAC Coach of the Year awards.
Since 2001, Graves has served as the director of the Springfield Basketball School. During summer, she travels internationally to teach the sport of basketball through camps and clinics.
Prior to her time at Springfield, Graves coached six season at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The Carol Eckman Award was first presented in 1985. Visit www.wbca.org/recognize/ to see a list of past recipients.
About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to the organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit www.WBCA.org for more details about the Association.