Next week, longtime Grace men’s basketball head coach Jim Kessler will be recognized by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Kessler has been tabbed as the 2021 Indiana Pacers Silver Medal Award recipient. Each year the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame honors one living person based upon outstanding contributions to Indiana basketball in a capacity other than an Indiana high school basketball player or coach.
Other winners of this award include notable college coaches, sportswriters, broadcasters and others such as Paul “Tony” Hinkle, Bobby Knight, and Gene Keady. Recipients of the Silver Medal are considered to be Hall of Fame inductees.
The 2021 Hall of Fame banquet will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis. The banquet will be livestreamed for free online here.
Kessler is the all-time wins leader at Grace, amassing 788 victories during his 42-year career (1977–2019). He is an inductee of the NAIA Hall of Fame, NCCAA Hall of Fame, and an inaugural member of the Grace College Athletics Hall of Fame.
His teams claimed 10 conference championships and reached 19 national tournaments, including the 1992 squad that won the NAIA national championship. Kessler was given the 2006 NABC Guardians of the Game award for his contributions to the game of basketball.
His Lancer teams had eighteen 20-win seasons and three 30-win seasons. He was named the 1992 NAIA National Coach of the Year and the 1983 and 1992 NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
Additionally, he served as a court coach for USA Basketball, hosted a coaches clinic at the NCAA Final Four, led Grace on international mission trips to at least eight countries, and has directed over 20,000 campers at the annual Lancer Basketball Camp.