NEW ORLEANS, La. - A national championship setting is not uncommon for former Northeastern A&M Golden Norse coach Larry Gipson.

Twice he has hoisted the championship trophy while coaching at Northeastern State (NCAA Division II, 2003) and NEO A&M (NJCAA, 1989).

When the curtain drops here this weekend at The Superdome for the NCAA Division I Final Four, Gipson won't be on the bench for Kansas, Ohio State, Kentucky or Louisville. Instead, he will appointed as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) president, a spot very seldom held by non-NCAA Division I coaches.

Gipson was appointed to the NABC Board of Directors in 2002 and says he is looking forward to serving as one of the leading advocates for the "Guardians of the Game."

"This is the culmination of a lengthy coaching career and I am proud to represent myself and Northeastern State University as the NABC president," said Gipson, who joined the NABC in 1981 when he began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Tulsa.

"The NABC represents all men's basketball coaches with our motto being we are 'Guardians of the Game.' We have a responsibility to protect the integrity of student-athletes and coaches and the game of basketball. It is our purpose to nurture and foster those who choose to play and coach basketball so the game can grow and flourish. We are advocates for awareness."

The NABC Board is comprised of 14 NCAA Division I schools, and two each from Divisions II and III.

A high school and NAIA representative will be added to the board in August of this year.

Gipson will replace outgoing president Ernie Kent, the former head coach at Oregon.

Previous presidents of the NABC include such names as Henry Iba, Adloph Rupp, Dean Smith, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyewski.

"I am looking forward to continuing our positive relationship with the NCAA and working closely with the NJCAA and NAIA on several pertinent issues this year," said Gipson. "We have the responsibility to enact or serve as advocates regarding legislation within these organizations for the benefit of coaches and student-athletes.

"It is humbling to know that Larry Gipson and NSU will be on every piece of literature distributed by the NABC now and in the future."

Gipson had his 15th season at NSU cut short this year when he left the team in December to battle one of the toughest opponents of all - prostate cancer.

After successful surgery, and a lengthy recovery period, Gipson says he is ready to return to the bench next year with a different perspective.

"This was a life-altering event," said Gipson, who owns a 241-166 record at NSU and a career mark of 526-326 in nearly 30 years as a college coach. "It has given me time to evaluate where I am and what I have been doing. It rekindled my juices, so to speak, because I truly missed coaching. I am anxious to return, get back on the floor coaching every day and beginning our new relationship as a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) next year."

He led the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M to the NJCAA national championship in 1989 and logged a 217-87 record during his tenure.