Liberty men's basketball head coach Ritchie McKay was named a finalist for the 2019 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the top coach in Division I men's basketball.
This is the third award McKay has been nominated this week, having also been nominated for the Ben Jobe Award and the Hugh Durham Award.
The nomination comes a week after McKay and the Flames won the ASUN Championship, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. This will be the fourth trip Liberty has made to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2013. It has been a historic season for the Flames, as they are the first team in the ASUN final to advance to the NCAA Tournament in their tournament debut since the 1997-98 season. The Flames shattered many records this year, including winning a school record 28 games, the most in a single season during their Division I era.
McKay has led the Flames to their third straight 20-win season, which has never been done before in school history. The Flames are prepping for their third straight postseason tournament, having participated in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) in the past two seasons.
A coaching icon, Phelan led the Mountaineers to the 1962 NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Championship. When he retired in 2003, after coaching for 49 years, he had amassed 830 wins (overall record of 830-524) in all divisions. In those 49 years, 19 of his teams amassed 20 or more wins in a season. Last season, the Flames won the Jim Phelan Classic in the CIT, defeating North Carolina A&T.
The recipient of the 2019 Jim Phelan award will be announced on April 5 at the College Insider Awards Event in Minneapolis, site of the 2019 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship Final Four.
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