Longtime MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor receives 2024 Betty F. Jaynes Lifetime Achievement Award

ATLANTA (Feb. 27, 2024) — Rich Ensor, who was an unwavering ally of women’s basketball throughout his 35 years of service as commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, is the recipient of the 2024 Betty F. Jaynes Lifetime Achievement Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. The award is named in honor of the late Betty F. Jaynes, who was the WBCA’s first and longest-serving executive director.

Ensor represented the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) on the WBCA Board of Directors for 11 years — from 2012 through his retirement as MAAC commissioner in June 2023.  Prior to that he served as an advisor to executive directors Jaynes and Beth Bass on NCAA issues. This led to the development of a committee structure that had direct representation of coaches and the WBCA into the governance system. Ensor later chaired the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball for five years that saw continued growth and investment into the sport.  Ensor continues to serve the game as a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and Board of Governors. He is a member of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions and sits on the Sports Lawyers Association Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

“Rich Ensor is a staunch guardian of the game and has been a valuable advisor to WBCA leadership for decades. He also has been a champion for and an ally to our coaches and their profound role in serving student-athletes,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “A national leader, Rich served as a member of the WBCA Board of Directors and finance committee for over a decade, supporting every executive director to date — Betty Jaynes, Beth Bass, and now, me. His counsel is wise and his impact on the game and the coaching profession is immense.

 “It is fitting that Rich Ensor is the first recipient of the newly renamed Betty F. Jaynes Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was Betty’s choice many years ago and we are so fortunate his commitment to the WBCA continues today.”

Under Ensor’s direction, the MAAC focused efforts to showcase its 11 member institutions in its annual men’s and women’s basketball championship. Since 1990, with the support of league’s athletic administrators and coaches, the MAAC has held its premier event in state of the art playing facilities such as the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey; MVP Arena in Albany, New York; and the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. Ensor also sought out opportunities to host intercollegiate competitions during his tenure including the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, and NCAA Regionals in Albany, Buffalo and Trenton, New Jersey.

Ensor also developed an international presence for the MAAC, developing with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame the Belfast Classic in Northern Ireland which was the first regular-season NCAA Division I basketball game ever played in Europe. He also launched an event in 2022 in Dublin, Ireland, at the National Arena.

Under his direction the MAAC has served as the host conference for the prestigious NCAA men’s basketball ESPN Events Invitational since 2006 at Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando. Recently, with his assistance, the WBCA announced its sponsorship of regular-season invitationals that will launch in November 2024 at Disney and in Las Vegas.

Ensor, an attorney, is CEO of Boardwalk Sports Event Management which he founded after retiring in 2023. He resides in Celebration, Florida,

“I’m very honored to be receive the WBCA Betty F. Jaynes Lifetime Achievement Award for my service to the sport,” said Ensor. “I first became involved in women’s basketball while an undergraduate at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey, and it led me to become fully engaged in the development of the game while serving as an administrator, educator and commissioner during my career.  I’m humbled to be listed with past recipients of this award, many of whom I worked alongside with in efforts to grow the sport and achieve equity in the treatment of women’s basketball, its athletes and coaches.”

Under Jaynes’ leadership, the WBCA established itself as the leading resource and advocate for and voice of coaches of women’s basketball, growing from 212 members in its initial year of existence to more than 3,000 at the time of her retirement in November 2001. Jaynes remained active with the WBCA as a consultant handling advisory assignments including finances, educational programming, advocacy, and special projects until her death in 2014. In total, she served the association for 35 years.

The award began as the WBCA Service Award in 1984.

Visit WBCA.org to see a list of past recipients.

About the WBCA 
The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women’s and girls’ basketball at all levels of competition. Founded in 1981, 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 WBCA.org for more details about the association.

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