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Liberty News

Coach of the Year Award follows historic season for McKay and Flames

April 5, 2019 : Liberty University Athletics

Liberty University men's basketball Head Coach Ritchie McKay is the recipient of the 2019 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the top coach in NCAA Division I men's basketball. The award was announced on Friday at the 2019 Final Four in Minneapolis, Minn.

McKay is the first non-Power 5 school head coach to receive the honor since 2011. The award, presented by College Insider, places McKay in elite company; past winners include Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Mississippi State’s Ben Howland, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins.

“What an honor, privilege and incredible blessing it is to be the recipient of the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award,” McKay said. “I’m very aware of the past recipients, and I am incredibly humbled to be mentioned in that class of individuals. I want to thank all of those who were a part of the process of the team’s great season — all of our players, support staff, administration and Liberty University and those who were a part of the selection process. I am really grateful and honored.”

The award comes after a historical season for McKay and the Flames. The Flames captured the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed. The Flames upended No. 5 seed Mississippi State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time the team has picked up a win in the “Big Dance” in their fourth trip to the tournament.

The Flames shattered many records this year, including winning a school record 29 games, the most in a single season during their Division I era.

Read the full story on the Liberty Athletics website.

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