Mary Ellen Leicht Service Award

Founded in 1959, the NJCAA Service Award is the most tenured honor handed out by the Association. It is given to those - most often not an athlete - who have made significant contributions to two-year college athletics on a national level for an extended period of time. Annually, one Service Award can be reserved for a member of the media. No more than four Service Awards can be presented in a given year. In 2017, the NJCAA renamed the honor to the Mary Ellen Leicht Service Award in recognition of the 28 years of dedicated service by its third Executive Director. Leicht began her journey with the NJCAA in 1989 as an eligibility administrator and was quickly promoted to associate executive director. Her promotion in 2009 to Executive Director made history as she became the first female chief executive of not only the NJCAA but of any national collegiate athletic organization in the United States. After nearly three decades with the Association, Leicht retired from the NJCAA in 2017.


Mary Ellen Leicht Service Award Recipients 

   Year Name Position College/Affiliation
2018-19 Berdy Kuiken Region 4 Women's Director South Suburban College (Ill.)
  Jerry Smith NJCAA Board of Regents Arizona Western College
2017-18 Jo Ann Rogers Region 20 Women's Director Prince George's (Md.)
  Bryce Roderick KJCCC Commissioner KJCCC
2016-17 Thom McDonald Region 11 Men's Director / Commissioner Iowa Community College Athletic Conference
  John Simone Region 19 Contributor / Athletic Director Mercer County (N.J.)
2015-16 Dudley 'Skip' Bailey Region 3 Assistant Men's Director / Athletic Director Monroe CC (N.Y.)
  Dale Vos Region 12 Men's Director / Athletic Director  St. Clair County (Mich.)
  Tyler Cundith Sports Information Director  Johnson County (Kan.)
2014-15 Jim Southward Region 23 Men's Director Mississippi State Board of Community & Junior College Association
  Cleo Hill Athletic Director / Basketball Coach Essex County (N.J.)
  Sally Thalken Volleyball Coach North Platte (Neb.)
  Francis Flax Athletic Director / Men's Basketball Coach / Coaches Assn. Brown Mackie (Kan.)
2013-14  Jim Cox  Region 8 Assistant Men's Director / Athletic Director  Miami Dade (Fla.) 
  Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons Men's Basketball Coach Moberly Area (Mo.)
  Richard Groch Baseball Coach St. Clair County (Mich.)
2012-13 Randy Stange Region 6 Men's Director / Atheltic Director Hutchinson (Kan.)
  Augustine Eosso Athletic Director Raritan Valley (N.J.)
  Art Becker NJCAA President / Region 1 Men's Director / Athletic Director Scottsdale (Ariz.)
  James Harvey President Central Florida / Miami Dade (Fla.)
 2011-12 Dick Shilts  Men's Basketball Coach  Kalamazoo Valley (Mich.) 
  Dennis Clark  Softball Coach Kankakee (Ill.) 
  Mike Pantalione Men's Soccer Coach / Coaches Association  Yavapai (Ariz.) 
  Scott Gernander  Athletic Director / Men's Basketball Coach  San Jacinto - South (Texas) 
 2010-11 Wally Reynolds  Region 4 Assistant Men's Director / Athletic Director  McHenry County (Ill.) 
  Timothy Kleinhans    Erie (N.Y.)
  Dr. Dan Kinney President Coffeyville (Kan.) / Iowa Western
  Don Vescio   CCAC-Allegheny (Pa.)
2009-10 Carol Eustis NJCAA Vice President / Athletic Director CCBC Essex (Md.)
  Walter Hauk Bowling Coaches Association Westchester (N.Y.)
  Harry Tholen Baseball Coach / Coaches Association Santa Fe (Fla.)
2008-09 Michael Pelliccia Region 15 Men's Director / Athletic Director Nassau (N.Y.)
  Joe Tubb Region 5 Men's Director / Athletic Director South Plains (Texas)
2007-08 Ruby Curry   St. Louis-Florissant Valley (Mo.)
  Don Jorstad   Northland (Minn.)
  Gene Gifford   Muskegon (Mich.)
  Pat Hicks   Anoka-Ramsey (Minn.) 
2006-07 Dennis Perryman   Graden City (Kan.)
  William Simpson   John Wood (Ill.)
  Dr. Ronald Whitehead   Jones County (Miss.)
  Gary Barton   John A. Logan (Ill.)
2005-06 Harold Oetting Region 16 Men's Director / Athletic Director Jefferson (Mo.)
  Gary Cole   SUNY-Dehli (N.Y.)
  Jo Ann Rust NJCAA Vice President / Athletic Director Pima (Ariz.)
  Ralph Galanti, Jr.   Erie (N.Y.)
2004-05 Dr. Bill Auvenshine   Hill (Texas)
  Dick Shockey DII Men's Basketball Championship Director / Athletic Director Danville Area (Ill.)
  Mike Lundgren Reporter Thief River Falls & Northern Watch (Thief River Falls, Minn.)
  Berdy Kuiken Region 4 Women's Director South Suburban (Ill.)
2003-04 Jack Cistriano   Prince George's (Md.)
  Ron Mann   Prince George's (Md.)
  Lorene Ramsey   Illinois Central
2002-03  Donald Brandt    Southeastern (Iowa) 
  Joyce Garrett   Georgia Military 
  Bennie Lee    Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference 
  Anna Van Tassell   Hibbing (Minn.) 
2001-02 Lynn Conway    Delta (Mich.) 
  Ed Hardeman Region 2 Men's Director / Athletic Director Connors State (Okla.)
  Bob Zifchak Region 19 Men's Director / Athletic Director Middlesex County (N.J.)
1999-00 Dr. David Pierce President American Association of Community Colleges
1998-99 Dr. Bill Jack Doggett Assistant Director Region 14 / Athletic Director  Tyler (Texas)
  Russell Frazier Baseball Coach Louisburg (N.C.)
  Bill Wirtanen  NJCAA President / Region 13 Men's Director / Athletic Director  Mesabi Range (Minn.)
1997-98 Bruce DuBois    Nassau (N.Y.) 
  Ron Gunn    Southwestern Michigan 
  Robert Hamrick   Blinn (Texas)
1996-97 Jim Campbell   Kilgore (Texas)
  Martin Dittmar   Ellsworth (Iowa)
  Pete Pisciotta   Glendale (Ariz.)
  Lea Plarski NJCAA President / NJCAA Vice President Women's Division / Athletic Director St. Louis-Florissant (Mo.)
1995-96 Leroy Dreyer   Blinn (Texas)
  Ben Rogers   Middle Georgia
  James Segret   Odessa (Texas)
1994-95 Dr. William Campion   Central Florida
  Glenn Dalling   Ricks (Idaho)
  William Holland   Dutchess (N.Y.)
  Phil Speegle   Odessa (Texas)
1993-94 Dorothy Brown   San Jacinto (Texas)
  Bill Dyer   Macomb (Mich.)
  Dale Meadors   Garden City (Kan.)
  Henry Witt   Iowa Central
  Jerry Kershaw Sports Announcer KWBW (Hutchinson, Kan.)
1992-93 David Rowlands Region 4 Men's Director / NJCAA Board of Directors / Athletic Director Truman (Ill.)
  William Tuten   St. Johns River (Fla.)
1991-92 Leo Canaday   Northern Oklahoma
  John Sacchi   Middlesex County (N.J.)
  Don Baker   Lees-McRae (N.C.)
  Maxie Boles   Central Alabama
1990-91 Oscar Erickson NJCAA President Casper (Wyo.)
  Betty Jo Graber Region 5 Women's Director / NJCAA Board of Directors / Women's Basketball Coaches Association Weatherford (Texas)
  Sam Suplizio NJCAA Baseball World Series Chairman  
1989-90 Jermone Chandler NJCAA Financial Advisor  
  Paula Ferguson   Triton (Ill.)
  Lucille Wood   East Central (Miss.)
  Dr. Steve Korchek   Mantee (Fla.)
1988-89 Dr. James Van Horn Region 22 Men's Director G. C. Wallace (Ala.)
  James Garrison Co-Founder of Coastal Football Conference / Football Coach Chowan (N.C.)
  Donna Piper Region 21 Women's Director Mount Ida (Mass.)
  Prentice Ryan Region 12 Men's Director Oakland (Mich.)
1987-88 Carvel Jackson Region 1 Director Mesa (Ariz.)
  George Monagan Athletic Director Monroe (N.Y.)
  Dr. William Causey Founder Member / President Alabama Junior College Conference
1986-87 Theo Heap NJCAA President Mesa (Ariz.)
  Robert Lake   Orange County (N.Y.)
  Richard Rollins   Mount Wachusett (Mass.)
1985-86 William Goldsmith    
  Marvin Behr   Broome (N.Y.)
  Kermit Smith   Martin (Tenn.)
  Wayne Unruh NJCAA National Office Hutchinson (Kan.)
1984-85 Guy Holt NJCAA Men's Basketball Championship Chariman Hutchinson (Kan.) 
1982-83 Ralph Werner Region 13 Director / Athletic Director Bismarck (N.D.)
  Eugene Keefe Region 15 Director / Athletic Director Westchester (N.Y)
  Thomas Sewell Region 14 Director / Athletic Director San Jacinto (Texas)
  Ken Roberts Co-Director of Wrestling Tournament  
  Albert Iorio Athletic Director / Basketball and Baseball Coach SUNY-Cobleskill (N.Y.)
1981-82 Tom Watt Athletic Director / Football and Track Coach SUNY-Farmingdale (N.Y.)
  Bill Connell Region 10 Director / Athletic Director / Football, Basketball and Golf Coach Wingate (N.C.)
1980-81 Fred Dickerson Region 10 Director / Football, Basketball, Track and Tennis Coach Lees-McRae (N.C.)
1978-79 Bruce Traphagen   Worthington (Minn.)
  Dixie Woodall   Seminole (Okla.)
  Grant Longley   Dean (Mass.)
1977-78 Dr. Albert Skinner   Cayuga County (N.Y.)
  Orville Gregory   Johnson County (Kan.)
  George Cook   South Georgia
  Edward Badger   Wilbur Wright (Ill.)
1976-77 John Montefusco   Brookdale (N.J.)
  Norm Cash   San Angelo (Texas)
1975-76 Donald Schmidt   Hudson Valley (N.Y.)
  Richard Baldwin   Broome (N.Y.)
  Joe Turner   Kilgore (Texas)
  Clifford Baker Reporter East Texas Sports Report (Kilgore, Texas)
1974-75 Joseph Milinovich   Hibbing (Minn.)
  Homa Thomas NJCAA President Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
  James Wychor   Worthington Chamber of Commerce (Minn.)
1973-74 Stan Barron Reporter / Sports Director WBEN-TV (Buffalo, N.Y.)
  Art Stock Region 13 Director / Athletic Director Mesabi (Minn.)
  Ernest Gould Region 13 Director and Secretary / Wrestling Coach Worthington (Minn.)
1972-73 C. L. Grovert Region 13 and 11 Director / Athletic Director / Basketball and Football Coach Fairbury (Neb.)
  L.W. Martin Region 10 Director / Athletic Director / Basketball Coach Brevard (N.C.)
1971-72 Hod Humiston Basketball Broadcaster NJCAA
1970-71 Walter Byers Executive Director NCAA
  William Odgen Region 12 Director / Basketball, Cross Country and Track Coach Jackson (Mich.)
  Luke Rushton Athletic Director / Basketball Coach Young Harris (Ga.)
1969-70 J. Paul Shelden Athletic Director / Basketball Coach Dodge City (Kan.)
  Fred Cinotto Dean Missouri Southern
  James Shenton President Erie (N.Y.)
  A. A. Elland President Hutchinson (Kan.)
  Dr. Bruce Carter President Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
1968-69 Joseph Rockenbach Region 13 Director / NJCAA Treasurer / Wrestling Committee Chairman Rochester (Minn.)
  Louis Ross Region 8, 17 and 14 Director Pensacola (Fla.)
  Jay Tolman Region 5 Director / NJCAA Secretary Mesa (Colo.)
  Peter Schloss Region 4 Director / NJCAA Vice President Thorton (Ill.)
  Harold Steele Athletic Director Grand Rapids (Mich.)
1964-65 P. F. Wilhelmsen  NJCAA President / Athletic Director Sequoias (Calif.)
  Otto Anderson NJCAA President Pensacola (Fla.)
  Herschel Smith NJCAA President / Track Coach Compton (Calif.)
1963-64 Cecil Tyrrell President Broome Technical (N.Y.)
  Charles Smidl Chairman of the Physical Education Department Wilson (Ill.)
  Laurence Spring President Erie County (N.Y.)
  K.R. Galle Dean emeritus Arkansas City (Kan.)
1960-61 Henry Brown   Amarillo (Texas)
  Horace Wubben   Mesa (Colo.)
  H. A. Dickson   Weber (Utah)
1958-59 George Hoy NJCAA Board of Directors Phoenix (Ariz.)
  Eugene Chaffee   Boise (Idaho)

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