Ann Meyers Drysdale Named 2017 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball

Basketball Hall of Famers Ann Meyers Drysdale and Gary Williams were named the 2017 Naismith Outstanding Contributors to Men’s and Women’s Basketball, respectively, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The awards are delivered by UPS, partner of the Naismith Awards since 2014.
First presented in 1982 to Curt Gowdy, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award is presented annually to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long‐lasting positive impact on the game of basketball. The recipients display character, integrity and dignity, and have contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of basketball. Voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Meyers Drysdale and Williams will be honored April 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I’m certainly honored and humbled to receive recognition from a game that has given me such great joy. There’s so many people who have contributed to put me in this position,” said Meyers Drysdale. “To even be considered for the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball delivered by UPS Award is truly special to me, and I want to thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club for this honor.”
“I would like to thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club for presenting to me the 2017 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball delivered by UPS Award,” said Williams. “This is a humbling award. This sport has given me much more than I could ever give back to the great game of college basketball. The contributions of my former players and coaches play a significant part in my receiving such a prestigious award. Thank you for this great honor.”
“Each year the Atlanta Tipoff Club is proud to honor the men and women who have made the game of basketball so special,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Ann Meyers Drysdale paved the way for women in the game, while Gary Williams influenced hundreds of players in his three decades as a coach.”

About Ann Meyers Drysdale:

First high school student to play for the U.S. women’s national team (1974)
First high school student to play for the U.S. women’s national team (1974)
The first woman ever to earn a 4-year athletic scholarship (UCLA) and the first four-time All American
Broderick Award winner as the outstanding women’s college basketball player of the year (1978)
In 1976, she played on the first women’s USA Olympic basketball team – won silver
First player drafted into the Women’s Professional Basketball League (1978)
First, and only, woman to sign a contract in the NBA, doing so with the Indiana Pacers (1980)
Was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1993); was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1999
Won two WNBA titles while serving as the general manager for the Phoenix Mercury, and another one while in her current position as vice president for the team

About Gary Williams:
The 3rd winningest coach all-time in the ACC behind only Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski
In his 31 years as a head coach, Williams amassed an overall record of 668-30, including 447–240 at Maryland, where he remains as the school’s winningest coach
Also coached at American, Boston College and Ohio State
Williams’ NCAA Tournament accomplishments include seven Sweet 16’s, two Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and the 2002 national championship
Won the ACC Tournament Championship in 2004 and ACC Regular Season Championship in 1995, 2002 and 2010
Named ACC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2010
With Boston College he led the Eagles to the 1983 Big East Regular Season Championship
Was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014