NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Larranaga, Lon Kruger, Fran Dunphy and Dianne Nolan are this year’s recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award.

Larranaga has spent the last 53 years coaching in college since he got his start as an assistant at Davidson College in 1971. Larranaga had stops at American International and Bowling Green before coming to George Mason in 1997. It’s at that school he burst onto the national scene as he guided the Patriots to the Final Four in 2006. The school upset top-seeded and defending champion Connecticut, rallying from a 12-point deficit in the first half. Their run ended with a loss to eventual champion Florida in the national semifinals.

From George Mason, Larranaga went to Miami where he has coached from 2011 until now. He has won 740 games in his career.

Kruger built the reputation for fixing struggling programs as he had success wherever he coached. He became the first Division I coach to lead five different programs to the NCAA Tournament, doing so with Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma.

He took four of them to the Sweet 16 and Florida and Oklahoma each reached the Final Four. He won 674 games in his career before retiring after the 2021 season.

“His track record of successfully rebuilding programs everywhere he coached is made even more impressive when considering how he did it,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said at the time of Kruger’s retirement. “He won with integrity, humility, class and grace. He did it with superior leadership skills and a genuine kindness that included his constant encouragement of everyone around him.”

Dunphy is the all-time winningest coach in Philadelphia Big 5 history. He has won over 600 games in his 31 years as a head coach. He has coached at Penn, Temple and his alma mater La Salle.

At Penn, Dunphy shined coaching from 1989-2006 where he won 10 Ivy League titles and a record 48 straight conference games from 1992-96. His 1993-94 team went 25-3 and was ranked 24th in the nation. The Quakers defeated Nebraska in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Dunphy’s career continued at Temple, when he took over for Naismith Hall of Famer John Chaney in 2006. The Owls advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times in his 13 years, including a run of seven consecutive seasons from 2007-13.

He then came home to La Salle in 2022 as its coach for the past two seasons.

Nolan spent four decades in athletics, including leading Fairfield as its women’s head coach for 28 years. She helped lead the Stags in their transition into a Division I program in 1981. She won a program-record 456 games at the school and led the Stags to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including one as an at-large team in 2001.

After coaching at Fairfield, she spent some time at Yale and finished out her coaching career in charge of Lafayette. In her 38 years of coaching, every senior player graduated with a degree.

This is the 16th year the award will be presented to those who have shown the character traits of Lapchick, who coached at St. John’s and with the New York Knicks. The quartet will be honored at a luncheon on Sept. 24 in New York.


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