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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release


March 22, 2012

McCollum named to second Coach of Year finalist list

BOSTON – In addition to Wednesday’s nomination as the top coach in NCAA Division II, Northwest Missouri State head coach Ben McCollum was named a finalist for the 2012 John McLendon National Coach of the Year Award that is presented to the top collegiate head coach. The award encompasses NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III NAIA and JUCO.

McCollum joins a list of 15 coaches from around the country that includes University of Missouri head coach Frank Haith, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kentucky’s John Calipari. McCollum guided the Bearcats from a 10th-place finish a year ago to the top of the MIAA and a shared regular season championship. Northwest finished 22-7 on the year as McCollum was named MIAA Coach of the Year led the Bearcats to their first NCAA tournament berth in three years. Below is the complete list of coaches:

Ken Ammann, Concordia University Irvine
Mike Brey, University of Notre Dame
Horace Broadnax, Savannah State
John Calipari, University of Kentucky
John Cooper, Tennessee State
Jim Crutchfield, West Liberty
Steve Green, South Plains College
Frank Haith, University of Missouri
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Marcus Kahn, Cabrini College
Ben McCollum, Northwest Missouri State University
Danny Miles, Oregon Tech
Pat Miller, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Matt Neil, Hope College
Paul Peck, Lindsey Wilson College
Chad Warner, Shorter University

A trailblazer and one of the true pioneers of the game, McLendon became the first African American coach to win an integrated national championship. His team went on to win the NAIA Division I Men's Tournament in 1957, 1958 and 1959, making him the first coach in history to win three consecutive NAIA championships.

In 1962 he became the first African American head coach in a major professional league (ABL) with the Cleveland Pipers. In 1966 he became the first African American head coach of predominantly-white university, when he took over the Cleveland State program. He led the team to their best record in school history.

In 1969, McLendon was hired by the Denver Rockets and became the first African American head coach in the American Basketball Association. After a brief stint with the Rockets, McLendon ended his 25-year professional coaching career with a winning percentage of .760 and a lifetime career average of 523 victories and 165 losses..

The winner will be announced at the awards banquet on March 30 in New Orleans, the site of the 2012 NCAA Men’s 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