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Vol. 58, No. 3 February 2020 .pdf version
Retiring NABC exec wins Katha Quinn Award
By JOHN AKERS
Jim Haney laughed at the thought that he was a media-friendly executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
For 28 years, he contends, he was just doing his job.
That meant always being available to the media, even for the most controversial issues.
That also meant doing his best to bridge the gap that sometimes exists between the media and the coaches he represented.
While it was assumed that he had his coaches' back, it always felt like he was watching out for reporters' best interests, as well.
For those reasons and more, Haney was named the 2020 winner of the Katha Quinn Award, given annually in recognition of the recipient's work in serving the media. Quinn was honored at the USBWA meeting at the 1988 Final Four for her work at the 1987 Pan American Games while she underwent treatment for liver cancer. She passed away in March 1989, at the age of 35.
The honor comes as Haney, 70, nears his retirement as the NABC's executive director in September.
"I never saw myself as necessarily quotable," Haney said. "But I recognized that the position had value and always felt that I could provide some background on issues that were confronting men's basketball.
"To me, it's sort of a given that (coaches) have a responsibility to respond to questions. Sometimes, the questions aren't easy. It's all part of one's responsibility to the university you work for and the team you coach."
Haney, a former head coach at Oregon, took the NABC job in June of 1992 after it was offered to and turned down in April by George Raveling, who remained the head coach at USC. A few months later, the NABC offered the job to Haney, then the commissioner of the Big West Conference. Haney immediatelyrecognized that the offer was the realization of a vision he'd had in the mid-1980s, that he would take a job in which he would be involved in basketball on a full-time basis.
Haney was one of only four executive directors in the NABC's 75-year history, replacing Joseph Vancisin.
Among many accomplishments under Haney, the NABC opened the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, adopted the national awareness and education program "Guardians of the Game" and partnered with the American Cancer Society to launch Coaches vs. Cancer.
"It's hard to grasp that you've been doing something for 28 years," he said. "It doesn't feel that long. It's been fulfilling, fun, enjoyable. It's one we cherish.
"The 28 years have been a continuation of an amazing journey, not only to represent the men's basketball coaches that I hold in high regard, but it was a 28-year sojourn with the Lord opening doors for me," Haney said. "It was amazing."
Haney said he is excited about the next stage of his life.
"My wife and I see this as a page that's turning," Haney said. "We won't be directly involved with the NABC, but our journey with the Lord is a lifetime journey. We're looking forward to what's next."
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