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Larry Lady to be Awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for SCB

May 22, 2019 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Small College Basketball (SCB) is pleased to announce the second recipient of the SCB Lifetime Achievement Award to Larry Lady, a prominent figure in the NAIA and former commissioner of the Heart of America Athletic Conference and supervisor of officials.


Lady will be awarded with the honor at the Small College Basketball National Awards Show on Saturday, May 11 at the Starlight Ballroom inside the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.


This event is open to the public and tickets are $50. All tickets may be purchased at the door and will include food and drinks at the social immediately following the National Awards Show.


“In my 50 plus years of being involved in small college basketball in general and the NAIA in particular, I know of no one who has impacted small college men’s championship basketball more than Larry Lady,” said Dr. Jim Poteet, Chair of the SCB Alumni Association National Committee.”  Larry has served as a referee at the NAIA National Tournament, as the supervisor of officials for over two decades at the NAIA National Tournament and as the commissioner of the Heart of America Conference. Larry’s work in these positions has been a labor of love that began as a young boy, when his father took him to Municipal Auditorium to watch eight games per day at the NAIA National Tournament. 

“The Small College Basketball Alumni Association congratulates Larry Lady for being selected as the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award and I am proud to know him as my friend and colleague.”


Since attending his first men’s basketball national championship at the age of nine, he has attended nearly every NAIA DI Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament over the last 60 plus years as a fan, an official, supervisor official, tournament committee member and commissioner.


“Larry Lady is an icon in the hallowed halls of the NAIA,” said John Drake, NAIA Men’s Basketball Coordinator of Officials. “Larry's passion, energy and countless hours of dedication to the National Championships has been a priceless gift to those student-athletes that have participated in this event.  Larry's work over the last 5 plus decades, often in the shadows of many legendary coaches and school administrators has been the backbone of the officiating standards for NAIA basketball.”


The NAIA Hall of Fame inductee has served the NAIA in many capacities over the years, including as Commissioner of the Heart of America Athletic Conference from 1993 to 2014 and as the conference’s supervisor of officials. 


“I am surprised, thrilled & humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Larry Lady.


The Abilene, Kansas native has also served as the NAIA national supervisor of officials from 1994- 2017 and has been instrumental in assigning quality officials for numerous championships.  Lady has served on many councils and committees established by the NAIA, including as chair of the Council of Affiliated Conferences and Independents and was a member of the Relocation Committee for the national office headquarters.


In addition, Lady has served as an ex- officio member of the Council of Presidents and on the National Coordinating Committee. 


“The Heart of America Athletic Conference wants to congratulate Larry Lady on receiving the small college basketball Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Lori Thomas, Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner. Larry is a legend in the Heart, NAIA and basketball officiating! He is a genuine and kind person who commits with great passion to anything he believes in and that is what made him such a dynamic leader throughout his career. I am personally honored to have worked with Larry for so many years as he is a great mentor and friend.”


The awards that Lady has earned reflect his passion for the Association.  In 2000, the Larry Lady Officiating Award was established in his honor for the many years of officiating expertise he has shared. He was also a recipient of the Frank Cramer Award, given to an individual who has been a long-time contributor to the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. 


“We are proud of the accomplishments of Larry in his years of dedicated service to the NAIA,” said NAIA President and C.E.O. Jim Carr. “It is no surprise that Small College Basketball has decided to honor him with its lifetime achievement award. He has spent a career working tirelessly as an assignor of officials and as the Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner, so we join in applauding NAIA Hall of Famer, Larry Lady, as he receives this award.”

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