Men's Basketball Sweeps TSWA Awards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball senior Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) and head coach Rick Byrd were honored by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Thursday.
Clark was named TSWA Men's Basketball Player of the Year and Byrd was named TSWA Men's Basketball Coach of the Year.
For Clark, this adds to a bevy of season accolades. The 6-3 shooting guard became Belmont's NCAA era career leader in points (1,920) and three-point field goals (340) in leading the Bruins to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and the program's highest NCAA Tournament seed (No. 11 vs. Arizona).
Moreover, Clark was named OVC co-Player of the Year, Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention, Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America and Mid-Major All-America. Clark was also a candidate for the Naismith and Lou Henson National Player of the Year awards and finished third in the Hampton Hotels National 3-Point Championships during Final Four weekend.
Clark finished his career as a four-time all-conference honoree and two-time conference defensive player of the year.
This marks the first time a Belmont player has been named TSWA Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
Byrd led Belmont to 26-7 record in its inaugural OVC campaign and a sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight seasons. The Bruins join Kansas and Memphis as one of only three programs in the country to earn NCAA Tournament automatic bids six of the last eight years.
In additon, with six conference regular championships since 2006, Belmont has won 12 conference championships the last eight years. Only Kansas has more (14).
Byrd also oversees a program marked by unparalleled academic success. Belmont leads the nation in Academic All-Americans since 2001 and joined Kansas and Notre Dame as the only 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship participants with perfect scores in Academic Progress Rate (APR) and graduation rate.
Byrd was a finalist for the Hugh Durham and Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year awards for the second time in three years, and received the 2012 NCAA Bob Frederick Award for his lifelong commitment to sportsmanship, ethical conduct and fair play.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame next month.
This marks the third time Byrd has been named TSWA Men's Basketball Coach of the Year (1999, 2011).