The Lifetime Achievement Award for the Small College Basketball Alumni Association is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated a continuous commitment to small college basketball including measureable, lasting and sustained leadership and service, as well as an impact on the game over a career or a lifetime. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented each year at the Small College Basketball’s Celebration of the Game. Nominations for the award are made by members of the alumni association.
Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley Selected for 2020 SCB Lifetime Achievement Award
Kansas City, MO – Small College Basketball (SCB) is pleased to announce Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley as the 2020 recipients of the SCB Lifetime Achievement Award. This marks the third year that the SCB Lifetime Achievement Award has been handed out.
“I am thrilled that Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley have been selected as the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients,” said Dr. Jim Poteet, Chair of the SCB Alumni Association National Committee. “Their impact on the athletic program at Kentucky Wesleyan College has helped make the Panthers, one of the elite small college basketball programs in the nation. Collectively, Pickerill and Utley have spent over a century deeply involved in sports information and radio broadcasting at KWC.”
Pickerill, a Louisville, KY native that graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, retired as the Kentucky Wesleyan Sports Information Director on Dec. 31, 2016. He is the longest tenured Sports Information Director in Kentucky Wesleyan history at 29 years. He has been with Kentucky Wesleyan for 48 consecutive years, including four as a student starting in August 1971.
“I’m amazed that my passion and love for Small College Basketball would draw such national attention,” said Pickerill. “I’m very proud to receive this award, especially with my longtime colleague and friend Joel Utley.”
In May 2018, Pickerill was selected to the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Hall of Fame, marking the fourth different Hall of Fame that he is a part of. The other three include the Kentucky Wesleyan Alumni Hall of Fame (2012), Kentucky Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame (2015), and CoSIDA Hall of Fame (2015). At that time of his induction into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, he was the only SID from the state of Kentucky.
In 2017, Pickerill was presented with the CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award. CoSIDA also awarded Pickerill with the prestigious Warren Berg Award in 1998. This award is presented to a college division member who has made outstanding contributions to the field of sports information. During his career, Pickerill’s athletic publications have won 30 CoSIDA awards, including 20 “Best in the Nation.”
In 2019, Pickerill completed his 26th season with the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Men’s Basketball Championship Media Operations. He spent 16 years as Assistant Media Coordinator and 10 as the Media Coordinator.
His tenure also spanned 35 years with the GLVC, including serving as the league’s second SID from 1980 to 1983. Pickerill received the GLVC’s Thomas Kearns Service Award in 2014. He also served as the President of the Division II Sports Information Directors Association from 2006 to 2009. The association consists of 281 members. Pickerill currently serves on the Small College Basketball Foundation Board of Directors and the Small College Basketball National Hall of Fame committee.
Utley, is currently in his 59th season as the voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan College Basketball Panthers. He has called 1,662 basketball games, through Nov. 25, 2019. Utley has had the distinction as the only basketball radio play-by-play broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles – 1966, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1987, 1999 and 2001. His longevity currently ranks second to the late University of Kansas Jayhawk play-by-play basketball broadcaster Max Falkenstein at 60 years. Utley holds the record for small colleges.
“To be recognized in this way is an honor well beyond any dreams I ever had,” stated Utley. “What I do as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC.”
Utley was inducted into the Kentucky Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2016, Utley was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. The Madisonville, KY native started his love for broadcasting at a very young age listening to his favorite team the St. Louis Cardinals and his hero and Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial with the legendary Harry Cary calling the games.
Utley received his first job at the age of 16 with Madisonville’s WFMW. He started out doing high school basketball play-by-play under the guidance of sportscaster Elmer Kelley. Following high school, Utley attended Murray State and then the University of Kentucky. While at Kentucky, Utley worked at WVLK radio in Lexington, where he was friends with the late and 1975 Kentucky Hall of Fame inductee Claude Sullivan, then the Voice of the Wildcats and, later the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1961, a friend who Utley had worked with at WVLK had moved to Owensboro to join the staff of WVJS and mentioned an opening to Utley. This is where his 59-year career started as the “Voice of the Panthers.”
Kentucky Wesleyan Athletic Director, Rob Mallory, had this to say about Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley receiving the 2020 SCB Lifetime Achievement Award.
“There are not two more worthy recipients of this honor than Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley,” stated Mallory. “Roy and Joel are pillars of not only Kentucky Wesleyan basketball, but Small College Basketball as a whole. They have served the sport at this level for more than 100 years combined, have witnessed many of the great moments in Small College Basketball history, and are dedicated ambassadors of the game. I can say without hesitation or bias that Kentucky Wesleyan basketball and Small College Basketball would not be what they are without Roy Pickerill and Joel Utley.”
Pickerill and Utley will be awarded the honor at the Small College Basketball National Awards Show on Saturday May 2nd at the Starlight Ballroom inside the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Kansas City, MO.
The event is open to the public and tickets are $50. All tickets must be purchased at the door and will include food and drinks at the social immediately following the National Awards Show.
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