NAIA Remembering Longtime Honorary Coach Jim Kissick Throughout Tournament


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Teams will wear commemorative patch and ceremony will recognize contributions of Kansas City construction titan

All 32 teams in Kansas City next month for the NAIA DI Men’s Basketball Championships will honor longtime honorary coach Jim Kissick by wearing a commemorative patch.

Kissick, founder and president of Kissick Construction Co., died suddenly on Dec. 8, 2018.

Since 2001, Kissick had served each March as an honorary coach during the basketball tournament. From 2004 until last year’s tournament, he was the honorary coach for the Georgetown (Ky.) College Tigers. “Jim’s kindness and support had an impact on all of us at the NAIA,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO. “He was an integral part of the NAIA family and a role model for us all because he embodied such great character. It was a privilege to have known him and have him become such an important part of our organization.”

In addition to the patch, the NAIA will honor Kissick during the tournament with a ceremony at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, March 22 during games at Municipal Auditorium.

“Jim Kissick was a wonderful person, as kind and generous as anyone I have ever known,” said Georgetown Coach Chris Briggs. “I’m so thankful for the relationship that we built over the years in our many visits to Kansas City and his visits to Georgetown. He absolutely loved seeing our student athletes have an amazing experience and it was awesome to see him develop relationships with our players over the years. He was always asking about them, where they are now and just getting updates on their lives.”

The honorary coaches are a long-standing NAIA tradition, giving businesspeople in the community a chance to connect with the tournament, the participating teams and the student-athletes.

Generally, coaches are invited to team practices, team activities, sit on the bench during games and usually take the teams out for at least one meal during the week of tournament activities.

Kissick was known to treat his teams to dinners at Kansas City’s legendary restaurants, including Arthur Bryant’s BBQ and Garozzo’s Italian Restaurant. He also hosted teams at his home when they made the championship rounds.

“I think it can be said that Jim just truly enjoyed being around the players and doing anything he could to make sure they had a fantastic experience at the tournament and in Kansas City,” Briggs said. “He would even make trips to visit us in Kentucky when he could. We had so many great times together that I am so very thankful for. He really cared about people and always wanted the best for them.”

About the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs dedicated to championships in balance with the overall college educational experience. Each year more than 65,000 NAIA student-athletes have the opportunity to play college sports, earn over $600 million in scholarships, and compete for a chance to participate in 26 national championships. | @NAIA