EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's basketball assistant coach Matt Laur has been named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) 75th Anniversary All-Star Team. Laur played his college basketball at McKendree University, then an NAIA institution, in Lebanon, Ill. Laur played for the Bearcats from 1999-2003.
The 75th Anniversary team, consisting of 60 players and 15 coaches, was released in conjunction with the beginning of the NAIA Division I basketball tournament. It is the longest continuously running college tournament in any sport.
"I am honored to be a part of such a prestigious team," Laur said. "To be one of 60 total players named to a 75th anniversary team is very special to me. It is a credit to the great teammates and coaches I had at McKendree. I was very lucky to be a part of such a great group of guys and a part of four national tournament teams."
Laur enjoyed a record-breaking career at McKendree where he is the program's all-time leading scorer, having amassed 2,874 career points. He also is the school's all-time leader in field goals made (1,219) and blocked shots (560). Laur was chosen as the NAIA Division I men's basketball National Player of the Year following the 2002-03 season when he helped lead the Bearcats to their only semifinal appearance in the National Tournament. He was the first McKendree athlete to earn the honor.
Also included on the team are former NBA All Stars including World B. Free, Earl Monroe, Dennis Rodman and others.
"You look at the group of people on the list and there are several NBA All-Stars on there,"
McKendree Head Coach Harry Statham is one of 15 coaches to appear on the list. Statham is in his 46th season as the Bearcats' head coach and has more than 1,060 wins in his career, making him the all-time wins leader among men's college coaches.
"It's great to be included with the legendary Harry Statham," Laur added. "He has more than 1,000 wins and has won them all at one school. That is unheard of in this business. I am looking forward to spending some time with Coach in Kansas City."
The team will be recognized with a special reception preceding the National Championship final on March 20 and then introduced at halftime of that contest.
Laur recently completed his third season as part of the men's basketball staff at SIUE. He said he is proud of the honor and realizes that it is a product of some of the teams for which
"I was fortunate enough to play on teams my whole life where the name on the front of the shirt is far more important than the name on the back," Laur said. "That is what we are trying to teach our young men here at SIUE and Coach Forrester sets a great example for these guys that no one is bigger than our program, no coach, no player, nobody."
He said he is proud of his time as a student-athlete and recognizes the role college athletics has played in his life.
"Playing college basketball played a huge role in the person I have become," Laur said. "It taught me lessons in all aspects of life including responsibility, honesty, hard work, dedication, team work, and time management. All the skills I have today as a college basketball coach, a husband and a parent were developed while I was a student-athlete."
More information on the 75th Anniversary Team can be found on the NAIA's Website.