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Springfield's Naomi Graves Honored with WBCA's Prestigous Carol Eckman Award

Springfield's Naomi Graves Honored with WBCA's Prestigous Carol Eckman Award

This release is courtesy of Springfield Sports Information.

ATLANTA, Ga. - Head Springfield College women's basketball coach, Naomi Graves G'85, has been honored with the 2017 Carol Eckman Award, announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Tuesday evening.

The Carol Eckman Award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach, who is considered the "Mother of the Women's Collegiate Basketball Championship." Eckman organized the first women's basketball championship at West Chester in 1969, and continued to garner recognition and support for the women's game until her death from cancer in 1985.

Graves becomes just the third Division III head coach to be honored with the Carol Eckman award, dating back to 1986. Along with Graves, the former head coach of Gallaudet University, Kevin Cook, was honored in 2010, while Laura Mapp of Bridgewater College was honored with the inaugural award in 1986. Other recipients of the Carol Eckman Award include Muffy McGraw, the current head coach at Notre Dame, Bonnie Henrickson, former head coach at the University of Kansas, and Gail Goestenkors, the former head coach at Duke.

The WBCA presents the award annually to an active member coach who exemplifies Eckman's spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.

"I am pleased to present Naomi Graves with the Carol Eckman Award," said Danielle Donehew, executive director of the WBCA. "Naomi is a talented coach and teacher who has used basketball as a classroom to prepare her student-athletes for success in life. Her unwavering investment over her 31 years as head coach has bettered our game and reminds us of the late Carol Eckman."

This season marks Graves' 26th with the Pride. While at Springfield College, Graves has posted an overall record of 395-298 for a winning percentage of .570. Graves has helped her squads to 14 postseason bids, including six berths in the NCAA Division III tournament. Her guidance also led to six New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships and three NEWMAC Coach of the Year awards.

Graves has always been a teacher of the game of basketball.  Since 2001, she has served as the director of the Springfield Basketball School, impacting thousands of youth in the community through her summer camp. Additionally, Graves and her staff has spent the last two summers traveling internationally to Hong Kong, where they spread the goodwill of basketball through camps and clinics in Asia.

A full list of Carol Eckman Award recipients can be found here.