Philadelphia, Pa. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and its American Baseball Coaches Association concluded the 2008 ABCA convention on Jan. 4, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pa., with the NAIA-Rawlings Hall of Fame and Awards luncheon. During the event, Spring Arbor University (Mich.) was awarded the 2007 NAIA Buffalo Funds Five-Star Champions of Character team award.
The luncheon began with the presentation of the 2008 Robert E. "Ish" Smith Achievement Award to Al Meyer of Mayville State University (N.D.). Established in 1999 by the NAIA-BCA, the "Ish" Award is given to an outstanding NAIA coach or administrator who has demonstrated unselfish promotion of NAIA baseball.
During his 33-year career, Meyer accumulated many coaching honors at Mayville State University (N.D.). He made numerous positive contributions to the sport of baseball at the NAIA level and throughout all levels of the sport in the United States. Meyer guided three teams to the NAIA World Series (including back-to-back appearances in 1963 and 1964 in St. Joseph, Mo.) and was president of the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Association from 1972-74. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1969; the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1982; and the inaugural Hall of Fame class at Mayville State in 1983.
The event also featured the presentation and induction of Alan Cartwright and Dave Keilitz to the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Cartwright received the honor for his achievements as a star outfielder for Southeastern Oklahoma State University. In each of his three seasons, Cartwright was selected to the all-conference, all-district 9 and all-area 3 teams and is one of two Southwestern athletes to be named to three NAIA All-America teams.
Keilitz's induction recognizes the impact he has had on the NAIA as the Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association. Keilitz is known for his selfless devotion to the promotion and recognition of excellence in baseball at all levels of the game.
The Rawlings/NAIA Region Coach of the Year Awards as well as the 2007 Rawlings/NAIA National Coach of the Year Award were also presented during the event.
Spring Arbor head coach Sam Riggleman won the national coach award for the second time in his career after leading his Cougars to a 48-5 overall record and a runner-up finish at the 2007 NAIA World Series. At one point during the 2007 season, SAU rattled off 36 consecutive wins while compiling an impressive 22-0 record in MCC play.
"We have a very special group of young men in our program and by investing in each other they were able to accomplish something amazing together," commented Riggleman. "Being named as the Coach of the Year is a humbling honor considering the quality of coaches who are working within NAIA. It was an exciting season and I enjoyed my part in it."
List of Awards
2007 NAIA Buffalo Funds Five-Star Champions of Character Team Award
Spring Arbor University
National Coach of the Year
Sam Riggleman -Spring Arbor University
Region I Coach of the Year
Ed Cheff - Lewis - Clark State College
Region II Coach of the Year
Paul Svagdis - Azusa Pacific University
Region III Coach of the Year
Duane Monlux - Dickinson State University
Region IV Coach of the Year
Mike Evans - Bellevue University
Region V Coach of the Year
Mike Stockton - William Jewell College
Region VI Coach of the Year
Denney Crabaugh - Oklahoma City University
Region VII Coach of the Year
Jim Callahan - Saint Ambrose University
Region VIII Coach of the Year
Sam Riggleman - Spring Arbor University
Region IX Coach of the Year
Keith Veale - Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Region X Coach of the Year
Scott Dulin - Fisher College
Region XI Coach of the Year
Chris Collins - Trevecca Nazarene University
Region XII Coach of the Year
Billy Berry - Tennessee Wesleyan University
Region XIII Coach of the Year
Hill Denson - Belhaven College
Region XIV Coach of the Year
Manny Mantrana - St. Thomas University