|ENGRAVED TROPHY AWARDS GIVEN FOR RECOGNITION
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In 1947, Joe Lapchick passed up a then-astronomical offer of $12,000 per year to continue coaching basketball for St. John's. Opting instead to accept a job as coach of the New York Knickerbockers, part of the fledgling Basketball Association of America, which was only in its second year of operation at that point. Lapchick went on to lead the Knicks to eight straight winning seasons and eight trips to the playoffs, including three NBA Finals in a row from 1951 to 1953 with the Knicks. As it turned out, the 1953-54 Knicks were more than just a team of talented players; remarkably eight of them went on to coach pro or college basketball teams, a tribute to Lapchick's leadership and influence as a mentor.
LETTER OF RECOGNITION FOR THE BASKETBALL TROPHY AWARD
[November 21, 2008] On behalf of the Joe Lapchick Character Award Committee, I want to express our appreciation to you and Dreamcatcher Global for all your efforts and work on the actual [trophy] awards and delivery of them. At the luncheon this week the [trophy] awards stood out and attendee after attendee remarked at the beauty of them. We cannot thank you enough for taking a concept and idea combined with a few pictures and creating such a striking [trophy] award.
The [trophy] awards were presented at a luncheon at Madison Square Garden to Coaches Dean Smith, Lou Carnesecca, and Pat Summitt. They were then presented that evening on theMadison Square Garden floor at halftime of the first game of The Coaches vs. Cancer Kick Off Classic. It was shown later on ESPN and I can tell you the [trophy] awards looked terrific. The fourth [trophy] award is headed to Springfield and the Basketball Hall of Fame.
We look forward to a long and continued relationship with you and Dreamcatcher Global. Thank you for your guidance, patience, and dedication to getting this done. Best Wishes Always, Dan Sacco, President Lapchick Committee.
SUMMARY OF JOE LAPCHICK'S CAREER IN BASKETBALL
- Self-taught coach
- Basketball's most prominent elder statesmen
- A man who helped shepherd the game of basketball from the 1920's into the 1960's
- The first "big man" in basketball who earned more than $10,000
- The first coach of the New York Knicks
- Integrated professional black players (including Sweetwater Clifton, the first black member of the Knicks, who played for Lapchick)
- Two-time college Coach of the Year
- Remembered for the mentoring he provided for such coaches as Bob Knight, Lou Carnesecca, and Johnny Bach
- Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1966, twice.
- Coach of four National Championship teams at St. John's University
LIFE AFTER BASKETBALL
After his forced retirement Lapchick turned to writing. In 1968 he authored "50 Years of Basketball", a book that was both a compilation of stories from Lapchick's early days as a player and an explanation of his coaching philosophy. From star player to successful coach to popular author, Joe Lapchick was an eminently influential figure who helped nurture the sport from its crude beginnings into its popular modern form.
Joe Lapchick died on August 10, 1970 of a heart attack in Monticello, New York, at age 70. The grave of Joe Lapchick is located at the Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers, NY.