Ruedlinger Receives First NCYS Icon Award


Don Ruedlinger accepting the National Council of Youth Sports Icon Award from Sally Johnson.

By John Rezell, Executive Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) president and founder Donald Ruedlinger was honored with the inaugural National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) Icon Award during the CEO Leadership and Insurance Summit in Overland Park, KS.

This prestigious award was presented to Ruedlinger for his many years of exemplary
service to the youth sports industry. Ruedlinger was the first recipient to receive the
NCYS Icon Award.

“That was really a surprise, I really had no idea,” Ruedlinger said. “In 27 years we’ve reached a lot of kids. We’re here for the every day kid.”

Youth Basketball of America is an international governing body that promotes youth basketball worldwide.

“Don Ruedlinger has created quite a legacy and has much to be proud of,”NCYS executive director Sally Johnson said. “As you read through his accomplishments you will find a wonderful collection of professional memories filled with heart and soul dedicated to youth and the sport of basketball. The NCYS Icon Award recognizes these outstanding accomplishments.”

A non-profit organization located in Orlando, Youth Basketball of America offers league development, tournaments, uniforms, educational clinics, scholarship programs, support materials, merchandise and insurance programs.

“What keeps driving me?” Ruedlinger said. “Sports is the last threshold of discipline. Kids want discipline and will accept discipline. We need for them to keep participating in sports.”

Member organizations receive discounted services on a wide range of items needed to advance their group’s goals. YBOA also hosts three major events in July including an International Basketball Camp, Boys and Girls National Championship Tournament.

“We do it because we feel there is a need,” Ruedlinger said. “I would love to do a study, because when kids are in sports they have an individual talent and play on team. When they get into life and have a job, they work in a group. I would love to do a survey and compare the kids who have that sports experience and those who don’t, and see what it means in real life.”

Youth Basketball of America has helped introduce youth basketball in 31 countries.

“We keep it fun, and we keep it low key,” Ruedlinger said. “My program — it’s my people who deserve the award. I have a great staff and they keep it together.”