Who We Are?

Our Mission

The Joe Lapchick Character Award Foundation is committed to encouraging and promoting good character in the sport of basketball. Each September, the foundation recognizes a group of iconic basketball figures, from all levels of men’s and women’s basketball, who have demonstrated honorable character throughout their careers, much like the legendary Coach Joe Lapchick.

Now in its 15th year, the foundation has honored some of the most respected names in men’s and women’s High School and College basketball including Dean Smith, Pat Summitt and Bobby Hurley Sr. Check out our complete list of former award recipients. 2022 continues this great tradition by honoring Leonard Hamilton, Rick Byrd, Speedy Morris and Val Ackerman. 

The Beginning

The idea of the “Character Award” was founded by Lapchick: The Life of a Legendary Player and Coach in the Glory Days of Basketball , author Gus Alfieri.Alfieri, a former player on Coach Lapchick’s 1959 St John”s NIT Championship team, wanted to do more to preserve the memories of his coach who was so revered in the eyes of everyone who met him.

“There could not be a better time to focus attention on character in sports but the present and Joe Lapchick is the model for the person we should look to”.

– Gus Alfieri`


The Event

With the assistance of the recently deceased AP Hall of Fame writer Jim O’Connell, former chairmen Bob Livingston and Dan Sacco, the foundation was created with the goal of preserving the legacy of Coach Lapchick . The founding principle was to recognize outstanding character in basketball coaching. The committee agreed to host an annual event to honor those who, in their careers, demonstrated Lapchick-like characteristics.

The event is held each September in New York City. The Award Recipients are honored at an afternoon luncheon and post awards after party at the Yale Club. Check out our Order your tickets here for both the Award Ceremony and the after party.