Nov. 16, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The National Invitation Tournament announced its first at-large selection committee Monday. The six-member committee will meet in the coming weeks to forge the strategic direction for the NIT Season Tip-Off and postseason NIT tournaments. The NIT, L.L.C., which is owned by the NCAA, was created earlier this year and is the entity that oversees the day-to-day operations of the NIT tournaments.
The members of the committee are Gene Keady, Reggie Minton, C.M. Newton, John Powers, Dean Smith and Carroll Williams. Newton will serve as chair.
The committee will evaluate the structure of the tournament's existing events and establish principles and procedures for the team selection process. The 2006 postseason NIT field will be the first selected by the committee. The teams for this year's NIT Season Tip-Off were announced this summer. The tournament begins with four games tonight and tomorrow night on campuses around the country.
All six committee members are former Division I men's basketball head coaches. Newton and Williams previously served as members of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee.
"I am excited to be joining an outstanding group of colleagues to forge the future of the NIT events. This is a great opportunity to take college basketball to the next level and provide an exciting start every season, as all roads lead to NCAA March Madness. I genuinely look forward to this opportunity," Newton said.
"The Preseason NIT," as the event was previously known, began in 1985 and has become the premiere early season tournament in college basketball. The field is comprised of 16 teams with the first two rounds held at campus sites. The semifinals and finals are held at Madison Square Garden.
"We're pleased to have such an esteemed group of basketball stewards to provide leadership in managing this event," said Greg Shaheen, President of NIT, L.L.C.
The NIT Season Tip-Off begins today on selected campuses across the country. This year's field includes Alabama, Army, Boston University, UCLA, Drexel, Duke, Manhattan, Memphis, Miami (Ohio), Missouri, New Mexico State, Princeton, Sam Houston State, Seton Hall, Temple, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Games throughout the event will be broadcast on ESPN.
Committee Member Profiles
Gene Keady retired as Purdue's head basketball coach in 2005 after 25 years at the program's helm. Keady's teams rung up 512 victories, won six Big Ten championships, and won 20 or more games in 14 seasons. Keady was named national Coach of the Year six times and is the Big Ten's third-winningest coach with a .661 winning percentage. With Keady steering the ship, the Boilermakers enjoyed 21 postseason tournament appearances in 23 years, including 17 NCAA Tournament appearances. He is enshrined in the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, and in the Kansas Hall of Fame as a coach.
Reggie Minton serves as deputy executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In his position, Minton is responsible for working on issues that directly affect college basketball coaches, while assisting with NCAA legislation to improve the game for players, coaches and fans. Prior to joining the NABC in August 2000, Minton coached college basketball for more than 30 years. Minton served as head coach at Air Force for 16 years and also was the head coach at Dartmouth.
C.M. Newton joins the committee after more than 50 years of service to the game of basketball as a player, coach and administrator. As a player, Newton was a member of the 1951 University of Kentucky team that compiled a 32-2 record and won the NCAA championship. From 1956 to 1989, Newton coached at Transylvania, Alabama and Vanderbilt, compiling a 509-375 record. He led Alabama to SEC championships in 1974, 1975 and 1976 and appearances in four NIT and two NCAA tournaments. He led Vanderbilt into the 1988 and 1989 NCAA tournament and was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1972, 1978 and 1979. Newton became athletic director at Kentucky in 1989 and is credited with hiring Bernadette Mattox, the school's first African-American women's basketball coach (1985) and Orlando "Tubby" Smith, the school's first African-American men's basketball coach (1997). Newton was President of USA Basketball from 1992 to 1996.
John "Jack" Powers has been a fixture on the New York City college basketball scene since the late 1950's when he twice led Manhattan to the NCAA tournament and the NIT once. A 1958 draft choice of the Syracuse Nationals, Powers had a brief stint as a high school coach and then returned to his alma mater in 1968 as the Jaspers' head coach. After his coaching days were over, Powers was named Manhattan's director of athletics, a position that he held for nine years. While in that position, Powers served on the NIT Committee and in took over as Executive Director of the NIT in 1988, following the retirement of legendary Peter A. Carlesimo.
Dean Smith, the legendary coach at North Carolina from 1962-1997, is the NCAA's all-time winningest coach with 879 victories. A four-time national Coach of the Year, he led the Tar Heels to 17 ACC championships and his teams reached the Final Four 11 times, winning NCAA championships in 1982 and 1993. In coaching the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team to a gold medal and the Tar Heels to NIT and NCAA championships, Smith was one of only three coaches to win the coaching "Triple Crown." He played on the Kansas Jayhawks' NCAA championship team in 1952. He holds NCAA tournament records for most appearances, most consecutive appearances and most tournament victories.
Carroll Williams retired as director of athletics at Santa Clara University in 2000. His final year as athletics director was highlighted by a second consecutive year of NCAA semifinal appearances by the men's and women's soccer teams. In eight years as athletics director, Williams led Santa Clara to 19 WCC championships in seven sports, and 23 postseason tournaments. Prior to serving as athletics director, Williams was head coach of the SCU men's basketball team for 22 years. He compiled a 344-274 career record and led the Broncos to six 20-win seasons. His five postseason appearances include one trip to the NCAA tournament, and four to the NIT.