David Hixon '75
Photo by Erik Andrews '09
Men's Basketball head coach David Hixon '75 will accept the New England Basketball Hall of Fame's Intercollegiate Program of Excellence Award for Amherst

Amherst Men Named the 2006 Intercollegiate Program of Excellence by New England Basketball Hall of Fame

September 28, 2006

KINGSTON, RI – The New England Basketball Hall of Fame has announced a new award that recognizes New England college basketball programs which encourage classroom achievement, athletic success, sportsmanship on the court and post-graduate career success.

The Amherst College Lord Jeffs have done just that, and will be the first program inducted into the Hall of Fame under the new award’s title, along with the women’s program from the College of the Holy Cross. Amherst coach Dave Hixon and Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons will accept the prestigious award during the 2006 New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday Oct. 6th at the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island.

“This is the most important award we have ever given at the New England Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Daniel E. Doyle, Jr., executive director of the Institute for International Sport, which administers the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

“All too often, a number of college athletes leave school without the skills required by a global economy,” Doyle said. “For this reason, it’s extremely important to recognize intercollegiate basketball programs which are committed to developing the whole person and not just the athlete. Based on all of the factors considered, we concluded that there are no finer intercollegiate basketball programs in America than the Amherst men and Holy Cross women.”

During the 29-year tenure of Hixon at Amherst College, the graduation rate of his student-athletes has been nearly one hundred percent, as he has amassed a career record of 520-219. His teams have not only graduated with a degree from one of the nation’s top schools academically, but have been to the NCAA Division III Final Four twice, the Elite 8 twice, and the Sweet Sixteen twice in 12 years alone.

Upon graduation from Amherst, Hixon’s players have gone on to a number of successful career paths, including, but not limited to, professional athletics. Amherst basketball alumni who have found considerable success after graduation include the bestselling author Harlan Coben, whose books Tell No One, No Second Chance,and Promise Me, are published worldwide; actor Ken Howard, star of the popular television show The White Shadow and former NFL tight end Jean Fugett, who is now a successful lawyer and businessman.

Hixon said it was “humbling” to learn that the New England Basketball Hall of Fame had chosen Amherst as one of the first two recipients of the award, and said he is “…very proud and honored. This is about a long-term commitment by people to the ideals to which college basketball programs should aspire. It’s about a body of work as opposed to one or two years.”

Hixon ‘75 was also a graduate of the Amherst College men’s basketball program and is now the driving force behind what will forever be known as one of the finest academic and athletic programs in the nation.