North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) athletic director Dan Mason has received the 2020-21 Mary Ellen Leicht Service Award by the NJCAA. The Mary Ellen Leicht Service Award is the most tenured honor handed out by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) who have made college significant contributions to two-year athletics on a national level for an extended period. The service award by the NJCAA was founded in 1959 and was renamed in 2017 for Mary Ellen Leicht in recognition of her 28 years of service as its third executive director.
Mason was honored at a virtual NJCAA ceremony Monday evening. “I’d like to take moment to thank the NJCAA for this recognition,” Mason said in his virtual acceptance speech Monday night. “As a first generation college student myself, I went away to college to play ball.”
Mason continued, “I never would have dreamt that I’d have the career that I had – over 27 years in the NJCAA making memories. Memories for myself, memories for all kinds of student-athletes along the way. I just want to thank the NJCAA again and (NJCAA) Region XI for putting me in the right place at the right time to do the right thing.”
In the 2020-21 academic school year, Mason served on four NJCAA committees – NJCAA Division II volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer and eligibility. He was also the women’s regional director for NJCAA Region XI.
Also honored with the service award were Tammy Smith, who is the dean of college life at Union County College (N.J.) and Marci Henry, who is the athletic director at Northeastern JC (Colo.)
DMACC’s BJ McGinn was selected as the NJCAA 2020-21 athletic director of the year.
Mason, who is retiring on June 30, has been the athletic director at NIACC since 2006.
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