Local Honoree Jeb Balise and National Honoree John Calipari to be Recognized
SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Basketball Hall of Fame and The Rotary Club of Springfield have announced the honorees for the ninth annual Basketball Hall of Fame / Springfield Rotary “Service Above Self” Luncheon. This year’s distinguished honorees are Jeb Balise and John Calipari. A special Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to long time Rotarian, Jim A. Russell.
Since 2010, the annual luncheon and awards have highlighted some of the remarkable individuals within the Western Mass. community and the larger basketball family who have truly lived out the motto of Rotary International, “Service Above Self.” The event will be held at the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Center Court on Thursday, November 15th at noon.
“We’re very pleased to be recognizing Jeb Balise and John Calipari for their outstanding philanthropic work and service to others,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “On a regional, national and even global scale, their impact can be seen and felt. We invite the Springfield community to join us in celebrating these exceptional gentlemen who have given so much to others.”
“The Rotary Club of Springfield is proud to honor such deserving individuals as Jeb Balise, John Calipari and Rotarian Jim Russelll,” said Sue Mastroianni, President of The Rotary Club of Springfield. “Jim has been a Rotarian for over 50 years and a member of Shriner’s for over 40. He is a special person who has never let a significant disability affect his devotion to his friends and fellow members of the greater Springfield community. All three of this year’s recipients exemplify Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.”
James E. “Jeb” Balise, Jr., is a West Springfield resident and the third-generation owner of Balise Motor Sales. Since he took over in 1986, the company has grown to become one of the top 100 dealer groups in the United States, employing over 1,400 associates at 24 new and used car dealerships, four collision repair centers, and three car washes located in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Throughout his life, Balise has remained committed, both personally and professionally, to community service and ensuring that Balise is both a good corporate citizen and neighbor. His ongoing commitment to bettering the communities in which he works, and lives is reflected by Balise’s long history of charitable giving, focusing primarily on programs that support youth and families and community enrichment. Balise sponsors numerous youth sports teams across the region, supports mentoring programs with local high schools and colleges, and is a regular contributor to the Boys & Girls Clubs, Baystate Children’s Hospital, the United Way, and the American Red Cross.
As Balise approaches its 100th anniversary, Jeb and the entire Balise organization will continue his family’s legacy of corporate social responsibility and personal community involvement in the greater Springfield area for generations to come.
National Honoree, John Calipari, is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer known as a “players-first” coach with a penchant for helping people reach their dreams. He has guided six teams to the NCAA Final Four, one to a national championship and helped 46 players earn selection in the NBA Draft during his 26-year college coaching career. During his success spanning UMass, Memphis and Kentucky, Calipari has continued to give credit to his players and use his platform to do good in the communities in which he has coached and across the world.
Calipari has raised millions of dollars to help those in need, notably hosting telethons in 2010, 2012 and 2017 to generate millions for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey. In 2013, Calipari began hosting an annual alumni weekend in conjunction with his basketball fantasy camp experience with the intent to raise money for charity. After generating $350,000 for charities during the inaugural game, the event has generated more than $1 million for charity every year since.
In 2012, The Calipari Foundation was founded by John and his wife Ellen to support educational, social and spiritual communities with a particular focus on enriching the lives of children. The foundation aims to inspire philanthropy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has teamed up with several charities including Samaritan’s Feet, the West Liberty Recovery Fund, 4 Paws for Ability, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the Urban League of Lexington and the V Foundation. Calipari continues to motivate his players and others by living and preaching the motto, “it’s never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it’s about how high you bounce back.”
Tickets and sponsorship opportunities to the luncheon are still available. Individual tickets are $75. For more information on sponsorships or to purchase tickets to the luncheon, contact Paul Lambert with the Basketball Hall of Fame at 413-231-5502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Service Above Self” Award Winners:
2017: Jack & Colette Dill, Nancy Lieberman
2016: Spencer Haywood, Susan J. Kaplan
2015: Mike Glenn, Henry Thomas
2014: Bob Delaney, Bob Perry, York Mayo
2013: Vinny Del Negro, Paul & Diana Doherty
2012: Jim Calhoun, The D’Amour Family
2011: Rebecca Lobo, Charles Ryan
2010: Bob Lanier, Dan Roulier
About Rotary International
Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto “Service Above Self”. The Springfield Rotary Club meets every Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the Mass Mutual Room at The Basketball Hall of Fame on Hall of Fame Avenue. For more information on the Rotary Club of Springfield or becoming a member, please visit their website at www.springfieldmarotary.org.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.