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Coach Detail

Ritchie McKay

Title: Head Men's Basketball Coach

After spending six seasons working under Tony Bennett as associate head coach at Virginia, McKay returned to Liberty as the men's basketball head coach on April 1, 2015. McKay previously served as the program's head coach during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons and has taken the program to new heights since returning to Lynchburg.

In four seasons since returning to Liberty, McKay has led the Flames to three straight 20-plus win seasons including a school-record 29 games during the 2018-19 season. In Liberty's first year in the ASUN Conference, McKay and the Flames were crowned the 2018-19 ASUN Regular Season Champions and also punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, winning the ASUN Conference Championship.

McKay and the Flames made history in 2019, winning the school's first ever NCAA Tournament game against the No. 5 seed, Mississippi State. In Liberty's three previous NCAA Tournament appearances, the Flames were ranked as a No. 16 seed and in 2019 Liberty was ranked as a No. 12 seed, the highest in school history. The Flames finished the regular season ranked No. 58 in the country in the NET rankings and a school-record No. 56 in the KenPom rankings, shattering the previous school-record of No. 181. In 2018-19, Liberty earned its first-ever AP Top 25 vote and also earned two votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

In six seasons at Liberty, McKay has led the Flames to postseason play in four seasons including three CIT appearances and a NCAA Tournament appearance.

Before returning to Liberty, McKay helped the Cavaliers post a 136-64 record, including back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Virginia advanced to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament three out of McKay's last four years with the program. Following an ACC Championship in 2014, the Cavaliers were the No. 1 seed in the East Region and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers spent seven weeks ranked as the No. 2 team in the country in 2014-15, finishing the year with a 30-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in ACC play. Virginia advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Final Four team Michigan State.

Prior to his days in Charlottesville, McKay served two seasons as Liberty's men's basketball coach, posting a 39-28 overall record and a 19-13 mark in Big South play. He was named the seventh head coach in program history on March 26, 2007. McKay led the Flames to a 23-12 record in 2008-09, matching at the time the program's NCAA Division I record for most wins in a season (Liberty finished the 1996-97 season with a 23-9 overall record). McKay has been able to recruit elite talent to Liberty, as he brought Seth Curry to Liberty and the rookie made an immediate impact on the program. He finished the year averaging 20.2 points per game and was named 2009 Big South Freshman of the Year (second player in program history to receive the honor). Curry spotlighted McKay's Top 50 recruiting class in 2008, which was ranked No. 48 in the country by Basketball Times.

McKay has compiled a 289-241 career coaching record in 17 seasons as a head coach.  McKay has the winningest career coaching record in program history with a .545 winning percentage.  Prior to his first stint as head coach at Liberty, McKay served as head coach at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-00), Oregon State (2000-02) and New Mexico (2002-07).

Overall at New Mexico, McKay sported an 82-69 coaching record over five seasons. He finished the 2005 campaign with a 26-7 record, winning the Mountain West Conference championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

McKay posted a 37-23 record at Colorado State, which included a 1999 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) berth. The Rams defeated Mississippi State and in-state rival Colorado at the event, before losing to eventual NIT Tournament champion California in the quarterfinals.

The 1999-2000 season featured the first year of play for CSU in the Mountain West, and the Rams logged an 18-12 record and a fourth-place conference finish.

A pair of victories over nationally ranked opponents, the first time the program had accomplished the feat at Colorado State in a decade, and capturing the title at the second annual Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii were some of the highlights during the season. College Hoops Insider magazine noticed the success of the 2000 Rams and tabbed McKay as its MWC Coach of the Year.

Before arriving on the Colorado State campus, McKay began his head coaching career when he was named the head coach at Portland State. McKay started at Portland State in 1995, helping revive a program which had been dormant for 15 years. McKay led the program to nine victories in the school's first season of competition (1996-97) since the early 1980s.

After the initial season at Portland State, McKay was named one of six finalists for the Clair Bee Award, given annually to the coach with the most influence and innovation in the game of basketball. Two other finalists for the honor that year were Dean Smith of North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. The 1997-98 Portland State team followed with a 15-12 mark and a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference.

McKay started his basketball coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington.  After his start with the Huskies, he spent time as an assistant at Queens College in North Carolina (1989-90), Seattle Pacific (1990-91), Bradley (1991-93) and back to Washington (1993-95). McKay also served as an assistant under Jim Molinari at the 1997 World University Games in Italy, where the USA captured the gold medal.

McKay earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in athletic administration from Seattle Pacific in 1987. A stellar player for the Falcons, McKay left the program as the school's single-season and career record holder for steals, and he was third in career assists. He still holds the school record with 10 steals in a 1987 game against Pacific Lutheran.

McKay is married to the former Julie Summers. The couple has two sons, Luke, who is a current Liberty student and Gabriel. The couple also has a daughter, Ellie, who is a Liberty graduate.

Coaching Experience

  • 2015-Present: Head Coach at Liberty

  • 2009-15: Associate Head Coach at Virginia

  • 2007-09: Head Coach at Liberty University

  • 2002-07: Head Coach at New Mexico

  • 2000-02: Head Coach at Oregon State

  • 1998-00: Head Coach at Colorado State

  • 1996-98: Head Coach at Portland State

Coaching Accolades

  • Led Liberty to its first ever NCAA Tournament win in 2019

  • Has posted 289 career wins throughout his head coaching career

  • Coached 18 All-Conference players at Liberty 

  • 2019 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year (Top Division I Coach in America)

  • 2019 Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Nominee

  • 2019 Ben Jobe Coach of the Year Nominee

  • 2017 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Nominee

  • 2017 Ben Jobe Coach of the Year Nominee

  • 2016 Big South Coach of the Year

  • Owns four of Liberty's eight 20-win seasons.

Pro Players McKay Has Coached

  • Danny Granger (Miami Heat)

  • Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets)

  • Ime Udoka (San Antonio Spurs)

  • Mike Scott (Philadelphia 76ers)

  • Mike Toby (Charlotte Hornets)

  • Seth Curry (Portland Trail Blazers)

  • Justin Anderson (Atlanta Hawks)

  • JR Giddens (Boston Celtics)

  • Milt Palacio (Toronto Raptors)

  • John Dawson (NBA G League)

  • Ray Chen (Chinese Basketball Association)

  • Anthony Smith (Overseas)

  • Jesse Sanders (Overseas)