Tournament Awards

For 71 years The Tournament has honored its top performers with many distinguished awards. Below is a brief description of each award and access to its detailed history of recipients. 

William B. French Most Valuable Player Award

This annual award recognizes the outstanding individual player in The Tournament based on sportsmanship, ability and overall performance. Presented by the Sons of the American Legion, it is named in honor of Bill French who was an NJCAA All-American at Hutchinson and was selected to the 1960 All-Tournament team. He and his wife, Mary Kay, died in an automobile accident in 1968. A fan favorite during his playing days, Bill played prep basketball at Pretty Prairie before starring at Hutchinson and later at the University of Wyoming. View Recipients

Bud Obee Outstanding Small Player Award 

This award honors V.C. "Bud" Obee, Director of The Tournament during the championships first 24 years in Hutchinson. Obee is credited with much of the championship's sustained success during that important era. The award is presented annually to the player displaying good character, leadership and loyalty to his fellow players and coaches. Special consideration is given to defensive ability. To be eligible for this award a player must be no taller than 6' 1".  View Recipients

Charles Sesher Sportsmanship Award

Initiated in 1966, the Charles Sesher Sportsmanship Award is presented annually to the player demonstrating the best sportsmanship through his actions towards teammates, coaches, opponents and officials throughout tournament play. The trophy is named in honor of Charles Sesher who was athletic director at Hutchinson for 26 years and in 1948 attended the first NJCAA Basketball Championship Tournament in Springfield, Missouri. After witnessing the event flounder, it was Sesher who persuaded and later convinced local officials and the leadership of American Legion Lysle Rishel Post #69 to submit a competitive bid to the NJCAA to move the tournament to Hutchinson.  View Recipients

Coach of the Tournament 

Since 1959, Hutchinson Rotary Club has presented an annual trophy to the outstanding coach of The Tournament. This award is based on general sportsmanship by both the coach and his team as well as ability reflected by the perforance and success of his players. Performance prior to the The Tournament has no bearing on the selection.  View Recipients