John Thompson Wins Naismith Award

Archbishop Carroll alum earns another basketball honor:

ATLANTA (March 15, 2010) – Marsha Sharp and John Thompson Jr., venerable head coaches with national championships on their resumes, have been selected as the Naismith Women’s and Men’s Outstanding Contributor to Basketball recipients, respectively, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.

Created in 1982, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award is presented annually to two individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game of basketball.  The recipients display character, integrity and dignity, and have contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of basketball.  To be eligible, an individual must have been involved with the sport in a capacity related to coaching, broadcasting, college administration or the news media.

Chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Sharp and Thompson will be recognized at the Atlanta Tipoff Club Naismith Awards banquet presented by AT&T and SunTrust on March 23 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

“I am both honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Sharp. “For it to come from the Atlanta Tipoff Club means even more.  I’m proud to join the list of former recipients, many of whom are colleagues and good friends.”

In her 24 seasons (1982-2006) as head coach of the Texas Tech Lady Raiders, Sharp had a career record of 572-189 and led her team to eight conference championships, 10 Sweet 16 appearances, 4 Elite Eights and a NCAA Women’s National Championship in 1993.  She was named National Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and SWC/Big 12 Coach of the year seven times.  She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Tall Enough to Coach became a regional bestseller. 

Retirement from the coaching arena has only left more time and energy to expand Sharp’s career and pursue her other passions, both locally and nationally. On a national level, Sharp was president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association from 2001-03 and is currently executive director of the Kay Yow /WBCA Cancer Fund.  She is involved locally with the YWCA serving as president of the Board of Directors, the Carillon Senior LifeCare Community Board of Directors and the Salvation Army Board of Directors.  She has also been a TV color analyst for the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.


At Texas Tech, she is currently an associate athletics director and oversees the Marsha Sharp Leadership Circle. A sought after speaker, consultant and team building expert, she continues to promote the topics of gender equity, civility, ethics and leadership for coaching staffs, athletic teams and corporations.


“The Naismith Outstanding Contributor Award is a great honor,” said Thompson.  “I’m flattered that the Atlanta Tipoff Club chose to include me in the list of honorees who have received the award.  I’m particularly pleased to be included with personal heroes of mine like Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines and Red Auerbach.”



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