SPRINGFIELD – Michael H. Goldberg, the Executive Director of the National Basketball Coaches Association, and New England coaching legend Donald “Dee” Rowe have been selected by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to each receive the coveted John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by the Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and is the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement. Named in honor of Hall of Famer John W. Bunn (Class of 1964), the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee who served from 1949-1964, the award honors coaches, players and contributors whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional or International game.
“For the first time in the history of the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, we will be recognizing two outstanding individuals in the same year who have so very positively impacted the game of basketball throughout their lives,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “There are so many admirable individuals in the basketball community that deserve to be recognized for their incredible influence on the game and we have decided from time to time that we will not be restricted to just one award winner. The contributions these gentlemen have made to the game speak volumes and deserve to be recognized.”
A graduate of New York University and St. John’s University School of Law, Goldberg has served as the Exectutive Director of the National Basketball Coaches Association since 1980. He assisted in gaining vastly increased retirement funds and disability insurance for the National Basketball Association Coaches, and in partnership with the NBA, many unique marketing opportunities for NBCA members.
Prior to joining the NBCA, Mr. Goldberg was a Branch Chief for U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, as well as General Counsel for the American Basketball Association where he guided the League, along with its late Commissioner Dave DeBusschere, until its merger with the NBA in 1976.
Donald “Dee” Rowe, a native of Worcester, Mass., played scholastically at Worcester Academy and during his collegiate days at Middlebury College (1952). He also earned a M.Ed. at Boston University in 1953. Mr. Rowe returned to his high school alma mater, where for 13 years he served as Director of Athletics and Head Coach of Men’s Basketball and Baseball at Worcester Academy, winning nine New England Prep School Basketball Championships.
In 1969, he was named head coach of at the University of Connecticut and was awarded New England Coach of the Year twice (1970, 1976) during his eight years at the helm. Coach Rowe was part of numerous coaching and clinician activities including the U.S. State Department
Partners of Americas Exchange Program throughout Brazil, the 1976 U.S. Olympic Basketball Trials, and serving as Assistant Coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that ultimately boycotted the games in Russia.
In 1978, after stepping down as head coach, Mr. Rowe launched the fund-raising arm for UConn Athletics and for the next 13 years became a national leader in collegiate athletic fund-raising, generating millions of dollars. In 1979, he played a pivotal role in UConn’s joining of the Big East Conference and he served on the search committees that brought Hall of Fame Coaches Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun to Connecticut.
Since his official UConn “retirement” at the end of calendar year 1991, Rowe has remained actively involved at the school in his emeritus role as Special Adviser for Athletics. Over the past 60 years, Dee Rowe has had a tremendous impact on the game he “fell in love with” as a third grader.
Goldberg and Rowe will be presented the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2017 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies, to be held at the “Hall of Fame Family Reunion Dinner” in September 2017