Coach Mike Lightfoot Honored as Guardian of the Game at NCAA Final Four Event
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Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Lightfoot will receive the Guardians of the Game Pillar award at the Final Four® AT&T Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday, April 6 in Dallas, Texas. This event features and honors the top players and coaches in all of men’s college basketball. Lightfoot will be honored for becoming the 18th quickest coach in all of basketball to reach 700 career wins.
The evening will also feature the presentation of the 2014 Naismith Trophy given to the nation's most outstanding player as well as appearances by the coaches in the NCAA® Championship Game. Other honors given during the event include the Coach and Player of the Year awards, the Big Man and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
In a recent interview, Lightfoot reflected on receiving the prestigious award. "It's really special," Lightfoot says. "You think we're a small school here in Indiana, and to be at the event with the 'big dogs' as I call them, the division one coaches and players, to be recognized at the same time is pretty special."
Lightfoot reached the historic milestone of 700 wins on Tuesday, Jan. 21 with a win against the Taylor University Trojans. He has coached the Pilots since taking over the program from the legendary Homer Drew in 1987. Since then, the Pilots have won 18 league championships and made 11 NAIA National Championship appearances, including three titles (1995, 1997, 1998) and two additional Fab Fours (1999, 2009). Lightfoot also steered four teams to NCCAA National Championships (1992, 1993, 2000, 2007) and five more to NCCAA Final Four appearances (1989, 1990, 2003, 2004, 2005).
“Coach has impacted so many lives and that includes mine,” says Athletic Director Jody Martinez, who played under Lightfoot in high school and at Bethel. “He uses the game of basketball as a tool for the ultimate impact.”
Guardians of the Game is a national awareness and education program led by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Each year, the NABC recognizes outstanding coaches from all levels for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the game, student-athletes and society. The goal of the program is to focus attention on the positive aspects of basketball and the role coaches play in the lives of student-athletes, in addition to the contributions coaches make to their communities.
For more information about the NABC Guardians of the Game, visit http://www.nabc.org/awards/guardians_of_the_game.
For more information about Lightfoot’s 700th win, visit http://www.bethelcollegepilots.com/article/3288.php.
To watch an interview with Lightfoot about the award, visit http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/bethels-lightfoot-to-be-honored-at-ncaa-final-four/25200452.