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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Sports Corp will present the inaugural 2023 Tom Jernstedt Lifetime Achievement Award to Jim Delany and will posthumously honor Dave Gavitt and C.M. Newton for their distinguished professional careers dedicated to the advancement of Division I men’s basketball.

The Tom Jernstedt Lifetime Achievement Award was created earlier this year to honor those who best exemplify the leadership and service demonstrated by Jernstedt during his 38-year tenure at the NCAA, and who have made a meaningful impact on college basketball.

Jim Delany started in college basketball playing at the University of North Carolina for coach Dean Smith, where he participated in two Final Fours. His career in college athletics administration began at the NCAA in 1975 as an enforcement representative. He then became the commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference and served on the Division I men’s basketball committee for the 1986, 1987, and 1988 championships. In 1989, he was appointed commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, serving on the men’s basketball committee from 1989 to 1991, and as chair of the committee for the 1990 and 1991 championships. While on the committee, many advancements were made to the championships including current tournament bracketing principles, while broadcast partners’ commitments to the championship resulted in significant growth in revenue for the NCAA membership. In 1988, CBS began a third, three-year contract that included having all regional semifinal games televised in prime time. In 1991, CBS Sports began a new seven-year contract for $1 billion, which included live cover¬age of all sessions of the championship through 1997. Years later, Delany would help form and chair the Division I men’s basketball competition committee in 2016, reviewing student-athlete health and safety, sportsmanship and integrity, game operations and presentation, technology, and statistical trends. During his tenure with the Big Ten Conference, Delany oversaw the creation of the Big Ten Network and the expansion of the conference to 11 schools in 1990 and to 14 schools in 2011. Delany also served as Vice-President of USA Basketball from 2000-2008. His service at USA Basketball included the successful run of the national team to the 2008 Olympic gold medal. Delany was selected by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, the most prestigious award presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Delany retired and officially stepped down from the Big Ten Conference on January 1, 2020.

Dave Gavitt made his start in college basketball as a member of the 1958-1959 Dartmouth varsity basketball team, the last Dartmouth team to win the Ivy League Championship. He held coaching positions at Worcester Academy, Providence, and Dartmouth. As coach of the Friars from 1969 to 1979, Gavitt led Providence College to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1973 Final Four. He became the director of athletics at Providence in 1971, and in 1979, he founded the Big East Conference and became its first commissioner. Gavitt served on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee from 1980 to 1984, and as the chair for the committee for the 1982, 1983, and 1984 championships. During his time on the men’s basketball committee, the bracket expanded to 48 teams in 1980, 52 teams in 1983, and 53 teams in 1984. In addition, the NCAA registered the trademark for the term “Final Four” in 1981, the NCAA tournament Selection Show was shown on national television for the first time in 1982, and the committee determined that the minimum capacity for a venue to host a Final Four was 17,000 in 1983. Besides college basketball, Gavitt was known for his contributions to Olympic basketball. In 1980, he was selected as the head coach of the Olympic basketball team which was unable to compete due to the boycott of the Moscow Games by the United States. He would go on to serve at USA Basketball, which included a presidency from 1988 to 1992. During his time, he developed the concept of the 1992 “Dream Team,” an Olympic basketball team composed of the NBA’s best. In addition, Gavitt was CEO of the Boston Celtics from 1990 to 1994, President of the NCAA Foundation from 1995 to 1997, and Chairman of the Board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame until 2003. Gavitt was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and his legacy is honored through the Gavitt Tipoff Games, which began in 2015 and is an annual early-season series between the Big East Conference and Big Ten Conference. Gavitt passed away on September 16, 2011. He was 73.

C.M. Newton’s experience in college basketball launched at the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of the national championship-winning 1950-51 Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team led by head coach Adolph Rupp. Newton then spent more than 30 years as a college coach at Transylvania, Alabama, and Vanderbilt. In twelve seasons at Alabama, Newton led the Crimson Tide to a record of 211–123, including two NCAA tournament berths, as well as two NCAA berths and a 129-115 record in eight seasons at Vanderbilt. While serving as chair of the NCAA Rules Committee from 1979 to 1985, his leadership led to the adoption of the shot clock, the three-point line, and the coaches’ box. Newton was appointed athletic director at the University of Kentucky in 1989 and joined the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee in 1992. He served as chair of the committee for the 1998 and 1999 championships. During his tenure, the committee made major advancements with CBS in 1999, agreeing to a new 11-year agreement that would commence with the 2003 championship. The agreement was for a minimum of $6 billion and included television rights (over-the-air, satellite, digital, and home video), marketing, game programs, radio, internet, fan festivals, and licensing. As athletic director for the University of Kentucky, Newton greatly advanced the basketball program, hiring Rick Pitino who would take the team to three Final Four appearances and the 1996 NCAA Championship title. Aside from college basketball, Newton served as an assistant coach under Bob Knight for the gold medal-winning 1984 United States men’s Olympic basketball team. From 1992 to 1996, Newton served as the president of USA Basketball, also known for his contributions to the 1996 Dream Team III. Newton was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, and the C.M. Newton Classic was introduced in 2021 to honor the role he played in integrating the men’s basketball team at the University of Alabama. Newton passed away on June 4, 2018. He was 88.

All award recipients will be honored at the 2023 Men’s Final Four in Houston, Texas on Monday, April 3 while fans, former colleagues, and friends celebrate the life of Tom Jernstedt - the “Father of the Final Four.”


About Tom Jernstedt
Tom Jernstedt joined the NCAA in 1972 and throughout his career worked behind the scenes to transform the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship to the premier event we know and love today. He served as executive vice president and oversaw the day-to-day operations of March Madness, the expansion of participating teams from 25 to 68 and the selection of larger sites, including domed stadiums, for the Final Four games. Beyond his tournament work, Jernstedt was a passionate leader and administrator whose connection with many impacted countless lives and careers. Many people described him as the type of person to make time for everyone, thoughtful, respectful, likable, and honest.

Throughout his 38-year career, Jernstedt served on many boards of directors and committees that include the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; United States Olympic Committee; United States-International University Sports Federation; Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association; Federation of International Basketball Association; and the University of Oregon Alumni Association as well as serving as the President of USA Basketball from 2001-2004. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame awarded Jernstedt the John Bunn award in 2001 which is the highest honor given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recognizing an individual who has contributed significantly to the sport of basketball. He went on to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the United Sports Academy and the Bill McGowan Leadership Award from the Indiana Convention and Visitors Association in 2007. USA Basketball then awarded him the Edward S. Steitz award in 2009 which recognizes an individual for his or her valuable contributions to international basketball. Jernstedt was eventually inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and then inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019, and finally inducted into the State of Oregon’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Indiana Sports Corp awarded Jernstedt the National Pathfinder Award posthumously in 2021 during the Men’s Final Four weekend.

About Indiana Sports Corp
Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit

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