LARRY SMITH AWARD
Charlie Brock Named 2023 Larry Smith Award Winner
Kansas City, Mo. – With the 2023-24 college basketball season just around the corner, Small College Basketball is extremely excited to announce Charlie Brock as the 2023 Larry Smith Award winner. Brock made an impact, not only in the lives that he touched over his 42 seasons as a college basketball coach, but also as an educator and a community leader. This year’s award will be presented on Friday November 3rd at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland, FL. The ceremony begins at 7:30 pm EST. Larry Smith, who the award is named after, had this to say about Brock being this year’s winner:
"I am so proud that Charlie Brock is the winner of the 2023 Larry Smith Award, as he's used his many platforms as a force for good," said Smith. "Whether it's been his platform as a Coach or Teacher, or his time on the NABC's Board of Directors, the NCAA Division III Basketball Committee or volunteering in the community, he's been hugely impactful through the game of basketball. He's given back to the game, his community, and importantly, to his players."
The Larry Smith award is presented annually to the person who has used their opportunity through basketball to ultimately change their life, has given back and has made a difference in our world. Brock is the fifth recipient of the Larry Smith award. The inaugural award in 2017 was given to George Tinsley Sr. In 2018, Charlie Titus was selected, followed by Cylk Cozart in 2019 and Dr. Ronn Johnson in 2022. Brock had this to say about being named this year’s recipient:
“I am very humbled to be honored with the Larry Smith Award, considering all the amazing things he has done for basketball, and colleges and universities,” stated Brock. “In the tradition of Springfield College, I have been blessed to be surrounded by and associated with people interested in making a difference. Being driven to get things done working with and for the NCAA and the NABC, the focus has always been on bettering the game of basketball for all involved in it. To be recognized by Small College Basketball in association with Mr. Smith, is truly an honor and a privilege.”
A native of Hopkinton, Mass., Brock earned a Bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at Springfield College in 1976 and a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Springfield in 1980. As an undergraduate, Brock was a three year member of the men’s basketball team. Brock was coached by former Director of Athletics at Springfield College, Ed Bilik. After completing his degree, Brock served as an assistant coach under Bilik for three seasons from 1976-1979.
Brock spent 24 seasons as the head coach at Springfield College and 42 total years as a head coach in college basketball. He took three different schools to the NCAA Division III tournament during his career, including seven times at Springfield. Brock is the longest tenured and winningest men’s basketball coach in Springfield College men’s basketball program history. He coached nine 1,000 point scorers during his career. Brock eclipsed the 20-win mark six times, including a 22-9 record during the 2017-18 season, taking Springfield to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
During his career, Brock was named the NEWMAC Coach of the Year twice and SCAC Coach of the Year once. In 2018, Brock was the Glenn Robinson Award recipient, awarded to the Division III National Coach of the Year. Springfield Athletic Director, Dr. Craig Poisson, had this to say about Brock:
"It's particularly special for Springfield College to have Coach Brock recognized at the same event as Dr. Ed Steitz as their impact on the sport of basketball is celebrated,” mentioned Poisson. “When Coach Brock returned to campus as a teacher coach, he brought with him a formula for growth and development that led to success, and such continued during his tenure on our sidelines. Aside from multiple NCAA tournament appearances including a historic Final Four run in 2018, Coach Brock embodied our Humanics Philosophy by serving others in his many leadership roles - from his Dream to Read program to improve literacy in the City of Springfield, to his national leadership with the NABC, his impact through the sport of basketball is deep and wide-ranging. When Charlie Brock speaks, his message is powerful and contains the substance to make a difference."
Brock was recognized with the NABC Guardian of the Game Award for Advocacy, for his commitment to the sport of basketball over the course of his career. He was also an active participant in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). During the 2018-19 academic year Brock served as the NABC president, taking over for Kansas head coach Bill Self. Mike Brey, former Notre Dame head coach took over for Brock during the 2019-20 year.
Over the course of his career, Brock served on the prestigious NABC Board of Directors, as well as the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Committee. At Springfield College, Brock is a facilitator for the Pride’s Literacy Awards program. This is a program funded by the Springfield Office of Community Development. The purpose of the program is to promote the importance of reading to children, targeting first through third graders. Brock also is a contributing writer to the popular NABC publication, Courtside. Stephen Brennan, head men’s basketball coach at Babson College was thrilled to hear that Brock was named this year’s award winner:
“I do not know any other coach who has done more for our game, at the D3 level, including getting the Reese’s All-Star Game going on Final 4 weekend, than Charlie Brock,” stated Brennan. “He is the ultimate servant leader that is relentless in his quest to make our game the best it can be for the student-athletes and coaches.”
Brock earned his 500th victory on November 21, 2015. He finished his 42 year career with 586 victories. Off the court, Brock has maintained a long tradition of Springfield coaches who have lent their teaching skills to other countries and has traveled internationally to Venezuela, Taiwan, Japan and Estonia to teach the game of basketball.
For more information on the Larry Smith award or Small College Basketball, please head to smallcollegebasketball.com.
Larry Smith and wife Elaine
Larry Smith is an American success story. Larry grew up poor – very poor – in a suburb of Boston, and got his break through in the game of basketball. Because of his basketball talents, he was afforded the opportunity to attend college at Suffolk University in Boston.
There at Suffolk, he excelled on the court to the point where he was eventually invited to a tryout with the Boston Celtics and was eventually inducted into the Suffolk University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Because of the game of basketball, Larry was able to further his education, which combined with his incredible work ethic, completely changed his life.
After he obtained his degree, Larry and his brother, Michael, started their own insurance business in 1962, which later became Nation Safe Drivers. The company has been an incredible success, and Larry and Michael recently sold the company back to the employees after running the company for 52 years.
Larry Smith is the embodiment of “using the ball”, as he took advantage of his opportunity through basketball, applied the lessons he learned and worked his way out of poverty and ultimately changed his life.
Because of his wild success, he has changed the lives of his children, grandchildren and generations of his family to come.
The Larry Smith Award will be given annually to the person who has used their opportunity through basketball to ultimately change their life, has given back and has made a difference in our world.
Through Small College Basketball, Larry Smith will contribute $5,000 back to a men's basketball player in need at the alma mater of the winner of the Larry Smith Award.
This is a significant national award, and we encourage you to nominate worthy candidates that have used the game of basketball - and the lessons learned from coaches, teachers and the game itself - to change their life, and ultimately to give back and change the lives of others.
APPLY FOR THE LARRY SMITH AWARD - Nominations due March 1 annually, please click here.