Rick Byrd Receives 2022 Wooden Award Legends of Coaching

Coach Byrd poses with Sam Lagana, chairman of the John R. Wooden Awards program.
Coach Byrd (r) and Sam Lagana, chairman of the John R. Wooden Awards program

Former Belmont men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd received the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor last week. First handed out in 1999, the Wooden Award Legends of Coaching distinction is regarded as the highest honor in collegiate coaching; recipients comprise a veritable who’s who in the history of college basketball, including Mike Krzyzewski, Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma and inaugural recipient Dean Smith.

“There is no coach in the history of the game of basketball that embodied excellence, integrity and humility like John Wooden,” Byrd said. “As a young man, I was certainly influenced by his remarkable coaching success, but even more so by his personal character and Christian commitment. The examples he set have stayed with me throughout my coaching career and personal life. I am overwhelmed and grateful to be named the recipient of the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award for 2022.”

This marks the latest honor for Coach Byrd, who has been inducted in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, NAIA Hall of Fame, Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame, Atlantic Sun Conference Hall of Fame and was formally enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last fall. In addition, earlier this year Belmont established the Rick Byrd Character Formation and Leadership Program and the Rick Byrd Character Award to honor his extensive contributions to the University while embedding his leadership, coaching and character formation philosophies in academic courses and co-curricular programming across campus.