By Katie Green, Manager of Athletic Communication
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NAIA is proud to announce the second year of the NAIA National Championship Host Excellence Awards. Seven
“Our hosts deserve every bit of recognition for all of the work that they put into making our NAIA Championships better each year,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “The 2017-18 season is no exception with another outstanding group of hosts that did an excellent job of creating experiences for our student-athletes that will last a lifetime.”
Best NAIA Championship Host – Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho), Baseball
The Best NAIA Host is awarded to the championship host who displays excellence in all aspects of conducting a National Championship and produces an excellent student-athlete experience.
“This is a great
The 2018 World Series was the 19th-consecutive World Series that Lewis-Clark State has hosted and the 27th overall. The institution goes above and beyond expectations to make sure the event runs smoothly. Harris Field saw an average attendance of 1,544 spectators per contest during the 2018 World Series.
Lewis-Clark State has made several upgrades at Harris Field in the last few years, including a new set of grandstands, a new 24-by-32 foot video board among other renovations to the stadium itself.
“Lewis-Clark State has continued to evolve in their partnership with the NAIA,” said Mike Higgins, director of championships. “The new digital scoreboard, seating and Harris Field façade are great examples of continued commitment to the venue and they continue to enhance the overall student-athlete experience.”
NAIA Championship Legacy Award – Glenn Walinski, Tyson Event Center
The Championship Legacy Award is given to a person who has advanced NAIA national championships and has helped elevate the NAIA brand.
Walinski has been at every NAIA tournament in Sioux City since his arrival in 2005 (10 volleyball, 14 DII WBB, two
“Glenn worked closely with his staff, local committee members and championship coordinators to make sure each event was championship
Best NAIA Championship Venue – Sanford Sports Complex, Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Best Championship Venue Award is awarded to a championship host that provides an outstanding venue to house the championship event and is continually making improvements to better facilitate the event and provide our student-athletes with a greater experience overall.
The Sanford Pentagon provided a new home to the DII Men’s Basketball Championship in 2018. The Championship took place on the 1950s/1960s-inspired Heritage Court.
The facility seats a capacity of 3,200, has three concessions areas, eight locker rooms, six meeting and activity rooms a team store and three athletic training rooms.
“The Sanford Pentagon is
Check out some of the highlights from the event here https://www.sanfordpentagon.com/news_article/show/936894
Best NAIA Student-Athlete Championship Experience Event – Catch Des Moines, Wrestling
The hallmark of the NAIA national championship events is the opening student-athlete experience. The event is expected to create a memorable experience for the student-athletes as well as being a showcase for the host city.
For the first time in NAIA wrestling championship history, Catch Des Moines put together a student-athlete experience event. The 2018 Wrestling National Championship participants were invited to the Iowa Hall of Pride the day prior to the start of the championships.
The Iowa Hall of Pride is a tribute to all the athletic accomplishments of individuals from Iowa, with over 40 interactive stations dedicated to sports. In addition, Catch Des Moines had a legendary coach, Dan Gable there to visit with the participants.
Best NAIA Champions of Character Event – DI Men’s Basketball “Teaming up for Character” program
The NAIA prides itself on providing a Champions of Character® program that promotes the five core values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership. Furthermore, each national championship is expected to engage the student-athletes in some kind of program that promotes or provides them
All 32 championship qualifying teams visited Kansas City, Mo. area elementary, middle schools and YMCA programs. At the school visits, the team members discussed the NAIA’s five core values and took time to interact with the students, answer their questions and sign autographs on autograph cards that were provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Thanks to a sponsored school field trip program the students were afforded the opportunity to
Best New NAIA Championship Host – Grand View (Iowa), Men’s Volleyball Invitational
The Best New Host Award is given to the host that displays excellence in all aspects of conducting a national championship, produces an excellent student-athlete experience and is in their first year of hosting a championship event.
Grand View provided a great experience for the student-athletes throughout the tournament. It started with the banquet that was located at the top of the host hotel, which gave a view of downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The speaker for the event was Russel Holmes, a member of the USA Men’s Volleyball team for eight years in his 10-year professional career. AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer was also at the event.
The Charles S. Johnson Wellness Center provided easy access, parking, locker room space, great playing surface and extra space for media.
Grand View added extra touches to enhance the student-athlete experience including decals on the doors and the floor (as you entered the facility), the invitational logo on the court, the padding around the net standards and on the top tape of the net. The institution also installed a new playing surface and added bleachers to accommodate for more fans.
Best NAIA Championship Hotel – Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
The Best Championship Hotel Award is awarded to a place that has the best accommodations for our student-athletes. In 2018, the best championship hotel was named to the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort is in a great location with several restaurants and shops within walking distance and is right on the beach. The teams were provided large meeting rooms for breakfast to be able to eat together with their team. They also hosted the Champions of Character® luncheon.
The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort took an extra step this year and did a great job dressing up the hotel with championship window and floor decals as well as banners and other signage throughout the hotel.
"We are dedicated to providing outstanding guest service as well as excellence in event planning creativity and execution," said Jim Berkley, general manager at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. "We are thrilled and
Best NAIA Championship Host
2017 – The City of Sioux City, Iowa
Championship Legacy Award
2017 – Gary Picone, Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho)
Best NAIA Championship Venue
2017 – Harris Field at Ed
Best NAIA Student-Athlete Championship Experience Event
2017 – College of the Ozarks (Mo.), Dixie Stampede
Best NAIA Champions of Character® Event
2017 - Mobile Tennis Center, Mobile, Ala.
Best New NAIA Championship Host
2017 – Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Mont.
Best NAIA Championship Hotel
2017 – Mobile Tennis Center, Mobile, Ala., Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel