The Big Hoopla Tip-off Reception featuring the Big Hoopla Awards welcomes the best of college basketball and tips-off the tournament action in Dayton, Ohio.

The Road Starts Here™

At this private event The Big Hoopla NCAA First Four Local Organizing Committee invites its sponsors, Air Force leadership, national media and NCAA officials to celebrate a great year of planning and prepare for two great nights of tournament action at UD Arena.



Past Big Hoopla Award Recipients:

Hoopla Challenge AwardGiven to the students winning the top prize in the basketball hot-shot challenge

Hoopla Students of the YearAwarded to students demonstrating advanced engagement through participation at the STEM Challenge

Hoopla Rookie of the YearAwarded to first-time sponsors of The Big Hoopla NCAA First Four Local Organizing Committee.

  • 2014: Chris Johnson, Boston Celtics
  • 2014: Kent Bazemore, Los Angeles Lakers
  • 2014: Brian Roberts, New Orleans Pelicans
  • 2015: Mike Miller, Cleveland Cavs
  • 2016: IGS Energy
  • 2017: Dayton Freight
  • 2017: R.B. Jergens Contractors

Hoopla Community MVP Award – Awarded to a multi-year sponsor who continues to provide extraordinary support of The Big Hoopla NCAA First Four Local Organizing Committee’s work in the Dayton region. 

  • 2014: Dayton Power & Light
  • 2015: Heidelberg Distributing Company
  • 2016: University of Dayton
  • 2017: Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA)

The Big Hoopla AssistAwarded to a member of the local organizing committee, sponsor or volunteer who provides outstanding work behind the scenes and who makes the critical assists.

  • 2014: Matt Zolman, Real Art
  • 2015: NONE
  • 2016: Eric Farrell
  • 2017: Corey Callahan
  • 2017: Stacy Schweikhart

Hoopla “And 1” Award – Awarded to a member of the local organizing committee, sponsor or volunteer who finishes big plays.

  • 2015: Jeff Hoagland, Dayton Development Coalition
  • 2016: Carol Clark & the Dayton Business Journal Team
  • 2017: Tom Whalen, Sebaly Shillito + Dyer

Hoopla Hall of FameAwarded to an outstanding performance during the NCAA Tournament with a tie to Dayton or UD Arena.

  • 2014: Coach Jim Larranaga, Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes who led the 2006 George Mason team to the Final Four; the team’s first and second round wins occurred at UD Arena
  • 2015: Coach Shaka Smart, Head Coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University who led the 2011 VCU team and their journey to the Final Four which started in the inaugural First Four from UD Arena
  • 2016: Coach Archie Miller, Head Coach of the University of Dayton who led the 2014 Flyers to the Elite Eight – although the tourney run did not see a game played at UD Arena, the team calls UD Arena home.
  • 2017: Coach Joe B. Hall, Head Coach of the University of Kentucky who led the 1978 Kentucky Wildcats to the National Championship and played the First & Second Round NCAA® Tournament games at UD Arena.

The Big Hoopla Award – Awarded to a friend of the local organizing committee who provides support, advocacy or guidance. 

  • 2014: NONE
  • 2015: Dan Gavitt, NCAA, Vice President, Men’s Basketball Operations
  • 2016: NONE
  • 2017: NONE

Hoopla Ambassador Award – Awarded to a member of the local organizing committee, sponsor or volunteer who finishes big plays.

  • 2014: NONE
  • 2015: General Lester L. Lyles, United States Air Force (Ret.)
  • 2016: Lt Gen Thomas J. Owen, United States Air Force (Ret.)
  • 2017: General T. Michael “Buzz” Moseley, United States Air Force (Ret.)

Hoopla Cinderella AwardGiven to an individual or team who believes that we can win, even as the underdog.

  • 2014: Montgomery County Commissioners Debbie Lieberman, Judy Dodge and Dan Foley
  • 2015: Vail Miller Jr. and the Heidelberg Distributing Co Team
  • 2016: Sandy Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership
  • 2016: Scott Sullivan, SelectTech Services & SelectTech Geospatial
  • 2017: Shanon Howard; Premier Health

Hoopla Servant Leadership AwardGiven to an individual or team who exhibits this core tenet of the Marianists and the United States Air Force.

  • 2014: “Those Who Serve” – Wright-Patt Airmen and their families (accepted by Colonel Don Grannan, Commander of the 88th Communications Group)
  • 2015: Dr. Daniel J. Curran, University of Dayton
  • 2016: Tim Wabler, University of Dayton, Retired Vice President & Director of Athletics
  • 2017: Lt Gen John F Tompson, United States Air Force