Two coaches will be honored with the prestigious ABCA/Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award in 2023: former Horizon High School (Ariz.) head baseball coach Eric Kibler and Ball State University (Ind.) head baseball coach Rich Maloney. The pair will be presented the award during the 2023 ABCA Convention, which is scheduled for January 5-8 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The American Baseball Coaches Association believes that the highest calling of a baseball coach is to teach life’s lessons and model the character traits of honesty, integrity, respect and personal responsibility. The ABCA Ethics in Coaching Award honors individuals who embody the ABCA Code of Ethics. In 2017, the award was named in honor of ABCA Board Member, Hall of Fame inductee and former Executive Director Dave Keilitz.
Eric Kibler started the baseball program at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1980, and over the course of 38 seasons, he would go on to become the all-time wins leader in Arizona high school baseball history and capture multiple state titles.
Kibler amassed 881 career victories, with 809 of those wins coming at the helm of Horizon High School, good for the most in state history. His Horizon teams captured six 5-A state championships, finishing runner-up three times, to go along with 20 regional championship victories.
The five-time Arizona Baseball Coaches Association (AzBCA) State Coach of the Year mentored three first round MLB draft picks and had 28 former players advance to professional baseball.
Kibler also has an extensive history with USA Baseball, having managed the 16U National Team to a gold medal at the 2010 Pan Am Games, earning him USA Baseball Coach of the Year honors. He also served as an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning 16U team in 2009 and the 18U team in 2015.
In addition, Kibler developed and designed the USA Baseball National Development Program and has run Scottsdale’s Arizona School of Baseball since 2019, which is an organization that focuses on developing youth athletes. A fixture in the Scottsdale community for decades, Kibler also directed numerous youth and coach clinics throughout his career.
Rich Maloney completed his 17th season as the head baseball coach at Ball State University (Ind.) in 2022 while guiding the Cardinals to their fifth MAC regular season title and earning his fourth MAC Coach of the Year honor. The winningest coach in Ball State baseball history, Maloney’s teams have amassed a 576-356-1 (.617) record, bringing his overall coaching record to 917-600-1 (.609).
Now in his second stint as the Ball State skipper, Maloney’s head coaching career also includes a 10-year stop at the University of Michigan where he led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten Conference championships (2006-08) and four straight NCAA Regional appearances (2005-08). The 2007 and 2008 Big Ten Coach of the Year also earned ABCA/Diamond Regional Coach of the Year honors in both of those seasons.
A 32-year continuous member of the ABCA, Maloney currently serves on the association’s Board of Directors and served as its President in 2018. He also served as the ABCA Divisional Chair for NCAA Div. I for six years.
In 2017, Maloney was honored with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Baseball Jerry Kindall Award which recognizes a college or high school baseball coach who exemplifies character, integrity, excellence, teamwork and service.