National Coach of the Year Finalist

National Coach of the Year Finalist

BOSTON - - Belmont University men's basketball head coach Rick Byrd has been named finalist for the 2019 Hugh Durham Award, announced Friday.

Byrd, who led Belmont (26-5) to a 10th conference regular season championship in the last 14 years, is one of five active - and 12 all-time - NCAA Division I head coaches with 800 or more career victories (804).

Belmont ranks top 25 nationally in 12 statistical categories, including first in assists per game and total assists, second in scoring offense and assist to turnover ratio, fifth in field goal percentage, and sixth in offensive efficiency and defensive rebounding.

Belmont has earned national Top 25 poll votes eight of the last nine years, including three different weeks in 2018-19.

The Hugh Durham Award, named after the former Georgia, Florida State and Jacksonville head coach, is presented annually to the nation's top mid-major coach.

This marks the third time Byrd has been named finalist for the award; he was named Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year in 2011.

Other notable finalists include Mike Young (Wofford), Nate Oats (Buffalo), Ritchie McKay (Liberty), and Matt McMahon (Murray State).

The 2019 Hugh Durham Award will be announced Friday, April 5 at the College Insider Awards Event, in Minneapolis, site of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

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 17 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 14 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 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.