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ABCA Meetings Close With Awards Banquet in Philadelphia

January 31, 2008
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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

Championship Information

NAIA Baseball Championship
Sports Rules - Baseball
Official Merchandise-baseball