Newton was unable to attend the event because of sinus issues but he spoke with the crowd over a speakerphone.
“I mean this with all my heart,” he said, “being inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame was the best thing that ever happened to me and this is next. To be associated with a man like Joe Lapchick means so much to me.”
Rush’s story with Immaculata was told in the movie “Mighty Macs.” She said her players in those early years were “women of character,” winning despite having the financial help of bigger schools.
The award, in its fifth year, recognizes those who have shown the character traits of Lapchick, who coached at St. John’s and with the New York Knicks and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player and coach.