NABC Guardians of the Game Award Recipients Announced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NABC on Wednesday announced the recipients of the 2024 NABC Guardians of the Game pillar awards. The awards are presented each year at the NABC Convention to NABC-member coaches, administrators and contributors who embody the NABC’s core values of leadership, service, education, advocacy, and inclusion.


Receiving the 2024 NABC Guardians of the Game awards are: for Leadership, Baylor coach Scott Drew; for Service, longtime Division III coach Dan Priest; for Advocacy, former Missouri coach Norm Stewart; for Education, Dayton coach Anthony Grant; and for Inclusion, Saguaro High School (Ariz.) coach Lucas Ramirez.


“Coaching is about much more than on-court results,” said NABC Executive Director Craig Robinson. “The NABC’s Guardians of the Game platform showcases coaches’ unique ability to make a positive impact on our society. These Guardians of the Game awards are among our industry’s most prestigious honors, and I commend each of this year’s recipients for how they live out the NABC’s core values.”


NABC Guardians of the Game Award for Leadership – Scott Drew, Baylor head coach

Scott Drew has been the head coach at Baylor since 2003 after previously serving as an assistant and then the head coach at Valparaiso. Drew has built Baylor into one of the nation’s elite programs, reaching 11 NCAA Tournaments and winning the program’s first national title in 2021. Off the court, Drew is an influential member of the NABC Ad Hoc Committee on Basketball Issues and the NABC Division I Congress. This season, Drew spearheaded a NABC review of the Division I recruiting calendar by modeling numerous proposed adjustments and gathering feedback from coaches across Division I. Behind Drew’s efforts, the modernized recruiting calendar was formally approved by the NCAA in January.


NABC Guardians of the Game Award for Service presented by CoPeace – Dan Priest, former Kenyon, Hendrix and Ohio Dominican head coach

Dan Priest spent 24 seasons as the head coach at Ohio Dominican, Hendrix, and Kenyon. He owns the highest career winning percentages at both Ohio Dominican and Hendrix during its time as a Division III institution. Throughout his career, Priest has been a prominent voice on numerous committees and helped lead an industry movement of Division III coaches becoming more engaged on national issues. While at Kenyon, Priest served terms on both the NABC Division III Congress and the NABC Division III All-Star Game Committee.


NABC Guardians of the Game Award for Education – Anthony Grant, Dayton head coach

This season marks Anthony Grant’s seventh as the head coach at Dayton, where he has led his alma mater to five 20-win seasons and the 2019-20 Atlantic 10 regular season title. Prior to his tenure at Dayton, Grant reached three NCAA Tournaments and four NITs during head coaching stints at Alabama and VCU. After the tragic passing of his daughter Jayda in 2022, Grant and his family have become fierce advocates for mental health education. This past October, Grant developed the Spotlight Town Hall in honor of his late daughter to champion adolescent and young adult mental health and suicide prevention. The event featured a mental health resource fair and was held adjacent to a charity exhibition game that raised funds for the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio.


NABC Guardians of the Game Award for Advocacy presented by CoPeace – Norm Stewart, former Missouri head coach

Norm Stewart became the face of his alma mater Missouri, where he won 634 games in 32 seasons as the head coach before retiring in 1999. Stewart’s MU teams won 20 or more games 17 times, and he captured eight Big Eight regular season championships. Following a colon cancer diagnosis, Stewart partnered with the NABC and the American Cancer Society in 1993 to launch the Coaches vs. Cancer program – which today remains one of the most impactful philanthropic initiatives in all of sports. Now in its 30th season, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised over $155 million to support the life-saving efforts of the American Cancer Society, including screening, research, and patient support programs.


NABC Guardians of the Game Award for Inclusion – Lucas Ramirez, Saguaro High School head coach

Lucas Ramirez has been the varsity head coach at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 2020, where he has reached the state postseason three times and won a region title. Ramirez also has experience at the two-year college and grassroots levels, and has served on staff at the NCAA College Basketball Academy. As Vice President of the Latino Association of Basketball Coaches, Ramirez has helped the organization grow in influence and impact as a resource for coaches of Latino descent across the country. Under his leadership, the LABC has grown numerous networking, mentoring and professional development initiatives that serve the Latino coaching community. Ramirez has also participated in the NABC Mentor Circle program.


Photo: Darin Sicurello