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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release


March 21, 2012

McCollum named national Coach of the Year finalist

BOSTON – Northwest Missouri State head coach Ben McCollum was named a finalist for the 2012 Clarence “Big House” Gaines National Coach of the Year on Wednesday which is presented to the top men’s NCAA Division II coach.

McCollum guided the Bearcats to a 22-7 record and a share of the MIAA regular season championship. He helped lead Northwest back to the MIAA Tournament advancing to the second round and the NCAA Tournament after a three-year hiatus. He was also tabbed as the MIAA Coach of the Year completing a 10th to first turnaround.

Along with McCollum nine other finalists were named with Midwestern State’s Nelson Haggerty being the only from the South Central Region. Below is the complete list:

Lennie Acuff, Alabama-Huntsville
Dave Bezold, Northern Kentucky
Jim Crutchfield, West Liberty
Scott Davenport, Bellarmine
Nelson Haggerty, Midwestern State
Cleo Hill, Jr., Shaw University
Brad Jackson, Western Washington
Todd Lee, Kentucky Wesleyan
Ben McCollum, Northwest Missouri State
Pryor Orser, Colorado School of Mines

One of the true legends of all-time, Clarence Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from a historically Black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

The winner will be announced at the awards banquet on March 30 in New Orleans, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468