SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - - Belmont University men's basketball head coach Rick Byrd is among eligible candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Byrd, who ranks 12th in NCAA Division I career victories with 787, is a first-time nominee in the North American committee nomination category.
The candidate list is laden with the most accomplished players and coaches in the history of basketball; other coaching candidates include Jay Wright, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gene Keady, and Bill Fitch.
A press conference announcing the Finalists from the North American and Women's committee for the Class of 2019 will be held during NBA All-Star Weekend, which is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The entire Class of 2019, including those selected by the direct elect committees, will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Enshrinement festivities will take place in Springfield, Mass., September 5-7, 2019.
Byrd ranks fifth among all active NCAA Division I head coaches in career victories. He ranks first among non-Power 5 head coaches and head coaches from the state of Tennessee. In addition, Byrd received the 2012 NCAA Bob Frederick Award for his lifelong commitment to sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and fair play, and served as chairman of the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee from 2013-15.
Belmont (9-1) has earned national Top 25 poll votes in eight of the past nine years, including this season.
Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 12 of the last 13 seasons, including seven automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 16 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs eight consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 13 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 16 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.