Sunday, November 5, 2017

Emil S. Liston Inducted into the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame

Baker UniversitTyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications Sports

BALDWIN CITY, Kansas – Baker University alumnus Emil S. Liston was inducted into the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday, Nov. 2 inside the Doubletree by Hilton in Evansville, Indiana.

A 1913 graduate of Baker, Liston was one of 12 inductees on Thursday night, the others included Don Meyer (Hamline, Lipscomb, Northern State), Dave Robbins (Virginia Union), Zelmo Beaty (Prairie View A&M), Walt “Clyde” Frazier (Southern Illinois), Bob Love (Southern), Jack Sikma (Illinois Wesleyan), Elmore Smith (Kentucky State), Jim Spivey (Southeastern Oklahoma State), Rico Swanson (Bethel, Ind.), George Tinsley (Kentucky Wesleyan), Al Tucker (Oklahoma Baptist).

Photo courtousey of the
Naismith Museum
Emil Liston was the driving force in the creation of the first collegiate basketball national championship tournament. 

With the help of his friends, Dr. James Naismith and Frank Cramer, his dream became a reality in March of 1937 when he spearheaded the America’s first national championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. 

That tournament eventually became the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, which morphed into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Liston coached Baker University to Kansas Conference championships in 1930 and 1937 and to national tournament berths in 1937 and 1941. 

He continued to coach at Baker until 1945 when he resigned to become the NAIB’s first full-time executive secretary, a position he had held on a part-time basis beginning in 1940.

Liston, who was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, continues to be honored to this day as the Emil S. Liston Scholarship is awarded annually to one NAIA junior men’s basketball player and one NAIA junior women’s basketball player in recognition for their outstanding academic and athletic excellence.

Small College Basketball services a niche within college basketball, as it unites the NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA levels.
Through the creation of the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame, events, awards, the website and various forms of publicity, it pays tribute, honors and promotes college basketball players, coaches, contributors and alumni within the NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA levels.  Combined, these levels of college basketball account for nearly 1,200 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
At the heart of Small College Basketball is the people that have made the game of basketball at these levels so very special. 
The focus is to enhance the lives of those people by paying special tribute to those who have made great contributions. By doing so, SCB raises the profile of basketball at these levels and enhances the overall game of basketball. Ultimately, Small College Basketball is about people and passion. 
The entire list of 2017 inductees:
  • Zelmo Beaty, Player, Prairie View A&M 
  • Walt Frazier, Player, Southern Illinois 
  • Emil Liston, Contributor, Baker University, NAIA 
  • Bob Love, Player, Southern Coach 
  • Don Meyer, Coach, Hamline, 
  • David Lipscomb and Northern State Coach Dave Robbins, Coach, Virginia Union 
  • Jack Sikma, Player, Illinois Wesleyan 
  • Elmore Smith, Player, Kentucky State 
  • Jim Spivey, Player, Southeastern Oklahoma State 
  • Rico Swanson, Player, Bethel (IN) 
  • George Tinsley, Player, Kentucky Wesleyan 
  • Al Tucker, Player, Oklahoma Baptist

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