Belmont University men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd has been named Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com. After losing five seniors to graduation following the 2008-09 season, Belmont was picked to finish anywhere from fourth to seventh in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings this season by various preseason publications. But in molding a roster comprised of 10 underclassmen, Byrd led the Bruins to a share of their third Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship in the past five years.
Moreover, in winning 14 league games this season, Belmont joins 2008 National Champion Kansas in an exclusive fraternity as the only programs in the nation to win 12 or more regular season conference games each of the past eight seasons. This marks the latest in an impressive list of career honors for Byrd. Including Belmont’s NAIA years and stints at Maryville College and Lincoln Memorial University, Byrd has been named district or conference coach of the year eight times.
Byrd’s previous awards from CollegeInsider.com include being named a finalist for the prestigious Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award in 2008 and National Coach of the Week in 2007. Prior to the season, Byrd was named one of the Top 10 ‘Under the Radar Coaches’ in America by Athlon Sports.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native ranks 14th among all active NCAA Division I head coaches in career victories with 580. Byrd shared Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year honors with Campbell’s Robbie Laing. CollegeInsider.com is a leading college basketball website and a preeminent online source for mid-major basketball. CollegeInsider.com has conducted the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll for the past decade.