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Liberty's Ritchie McKay is the recipient of the 2019 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award.

April 5, 2019


MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Liberty’s Ritchie McKay is the 2018-19 recipient of the Jim Phelan Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top Division I coach.

In the fourth season of his second stint at Liberty, the former Tony Bennett assistant guided the Flames to a school-record 29 victories and an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2013. Liberty claimed the Atlantic Sun tournament championship, winning at Lipscomb in the finals after sharing the regular season crown in its first year in the conference.

The Flames, a 12 seed, stunned Mississippi State 80-76 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They lost to Virginia Tech 67-58 in the second round.   

McKay, 53, has a 265-212 overall record and has led Liberty to three consecutive 20-win seasons.

The award is named in honor of the legendary bow-tied coach who spent his entire career at Mount Saint Mary’s University, leading 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.

Rick Barnes, Tennessee
Chris Beard, Texas Tech
John Beilein, Michigan
Tony Bennett, Virginia
John Calipari, Kentucky
Kermit Davis, Ole Miss
Darian DeVries, Drake
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Jason Hooten, Sam Houston State
Justin Hutson, Fresno State
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Dustin Kerns, Presbyterian
Chris Mack, Louisville
Ritchie McKay, Liberty
Eric Musselman, Nevada
Nate Oats, Buffalo
Matt Painter, Purdue
Mike Rhoades, VCU
Kelvin Sampson, Houston
Byron Smith, Prairie View A&M 
Craig Smith, Utah State
Bruce Weber, Kansas State
Roy Williams, North Carolina
Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette
Mike Young, Wofford

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