|Organization:||Lewis-Clark State College (ID)|
Ed Cheff was the 2009 recipient of the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award. Cheff led the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team to an unprecedented 16 NAIA World Series title and is the NAIA's all-time leader in victories at one school.
Cheff has been the face of the LCSC baseball program since his arrival in 1977. He posted a 1,705-430-2 record with LCSC for a .799 winning percentage.
Under his leadership, the Warriors captured 16 NAIA national titles during a 25-year span, won at least 40 games for 30 straight seasons, and produced 114 players who were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 14 who have made it to the big leagues thus far.
During Cheff's tenure, LCSC played in 11 consecutive NAIA World Series championship games and won eight. To put this in perspective, no other program has won more than four NAIA Series titles in its 54-year history. LCSC has been to the Series a record 29 times, more than double than any other NAIA program, including 28 under Cheff. Of those 28 appearances, LCSC finished fourth or higher 25 times.
Cheff also has been inducted into the ABCA, NAIA and LCSC Athletic Halls of Fame and was named the NAIA Coach of the Year eight times.
Cheff's teams also produced 72 NAIA All-Americans and three NAIA Players of the Year.
Cheff, who was raised in Butte, Mont., came to LCSC after a successful coaching career at Lower Columbia Community College in Longview, Wash. He replaced Ramon Hooker at LCSC following the 1976 season when the Warriors made their first appearance in the NAIA World Series and finished second to Lewis College in Illinois.
LCSC lost more than 20 games only once in a season and during the past seven years, his teams averaged 50 wins and only 8.6 losses.
Cheff's teams also were regularly involved in the community and with community projects. Players regularly served as mentors at area elementary schools, helped with cleanup at the Lewiston Roundup, and also did work at an animal refuge, among being involved with other local events, fundraisers, and volunteer programs.
During his time at LCSC, Cheff also was on the coaching staff for Team USA in 1991 and again in 1994 when he served as hitting and third-base coach at the World Championships. He also spent seven summers coaching baseball in the Alaska Collegiate League, which features college baseball players from across the United States.
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.