Rick Byrd

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For other people with the same name, see Richard Byrd (disambiguation).
Rick Byrd
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Belmont
Conference OVC
Biographical details
Born (1953-04-30) April 30, 1953 (age 63)
Knoxville, Tennessee
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1976–1978 Maryville (asst.)
1978–1980 Maryville
1980–1983 Tennessee Tech (asst.)
1983–1986 Lincoln Memorial
1986–present Belmont
Accomplishments and honors
TCAC Tournament championship (1988, 1994, 1995)
A-Sun North Division championship (2003)
4× A-Sun regular season championship (2006, 2008, 2010, 2011)
A-Sun Tournament championship (2006–2008, 2011, 2012)
OVC East Division championship (2013–2017)
OVC Tournament championship (2013, 2015)
NAIA National Coach of the Year (1995)
Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year (2011)
2× A-Sun Coach of the Year (2008, 2011)
2× OVC Coach of the Year (2013, 2017)[1]
Belmont Athletic Hall of Fame (1996)
NAIA Hall of Fame (2004)
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (2013)
Dr. James Naismith National Sportsmanship Award (1994)
NCAA Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award (2012)

Richard F. "Rick" Byrd (born April 30, 1953) is an American college basketball coach and the current head coach of the Belmont Bruins men's basketball team.[2] On February 16, 2017, with the Bruins win over Eastern Kentucky, Byrd marked his 750th career win, 658 with Belmont.[3]

Early life[edit]

Byrd grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee where he would sit alongside his father, Ben Byrd, and watch him write articles on the Tennessee men's basketball games as a kid. He then went to play basketball at Florida junior college for a year, but decided to come back home to Knoxville and attend the University of Tennessee , where he was asked to join the junior varsity team for the Volunteers his senior year. The next year, in order to start his coaching career, he became the student assistant to the varsity squad. The very next year Byrd also attempted to become a graduate assistant for the Vols.

Byrd then went to nearby Division II school Maryville as an assistant coach. After Maryville, Byrd moved to Tennessee Tech as an assistant for a few seasons, before becoming head coach at Division II Lincoln Memorial where he stayed for three seasons and finished with a 69–28 overall record).[4]

Career at Belmont[edit]

In 1986, Byrd was hired by Belmont as head coach.[4]

Byrd is currently one of five active NCAA coaches to have 500 wins at one school. Byrd is also one of 11 active coaches to have more than 600 career wins. Byrd won his 700th game as a head coach on January 17, 2015, when Belmont defeated Austin Peay 89–83.[5] Byrd is first among all active NCAA Division I men’s basketball head coaches (min. 10 years at school) when ranked by percentage of schools’ all-time wins; having accounted for over 59 percent of the total victories in Belmont history.[6] Only three head coaches in the nation have been at their respective institutions longer than Byrd's 30 years of service at Belmont.

He has led Belmont to seven NCAA Tournaments in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. Under Byrd's guidance, the Bruins have won 239 games and posted a remarkable 179–43 (.806) record in conference games over the past 10 years.[6] Byrd, from 2011–2014, led the Bruins to be one of only six NCAA Division I men's basketball programs to win 26 or more games joining the select company of Duke, Florida, Syracuse, VCU, and Wichita State.[6]

Notable players[edit]

Byrd has coached many players that have gone on to have very accomplished careers after their Belmont careers. J.J. Mann, the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Year, a first-team Academic All-American and the winningest player in Belmont history.[7] He now plays for the European professional team called Phoenix Hagen in Germany.[8] Byrd also coached Ian Clark, shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors. Clark was Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention, Naismith and Lou Henson National Player of the Year candidate, Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America, Mid-Major All-America, OVC co-Player of the Year, First Team All-OVC, OVC Defensive Player of the Year, OVC All-Tournament Team, Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Men's Basketball Player of the Year all, among many other awards, all under the direction of Byrd.[9] Byrd also coached Kerron Johnson who helped take the Belmont program to new heights, leading the Bruins to 102 victories, four regular season conference championships, three conference tournament championships and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.Moreover, Johnson helped Belmont earn national Top 25 poll votes three straight seasons and the program's best NCAA Tournament seed - No. 11 - in 2013.[10]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Maryville Scots[6] (Old Dominion Athletic Conference (NCAA DIII)) (1978–1980)
1978–79 Maryville College 8–16
1979–80 Maryville College 15–11
Maryville College: 23–27
Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters[11] (Volunteer State Athletic Conference (NAIA)) (1983–1986)
1983–84 Lincoln Memorial 22–10 11–1 NAIA District 24 Playoffs
1984–85 Lincoln Memorial 26–9 10–2 NAIA District 24 Playoffs
1985–86 Lincoln Memorial 21–9 11–1 1st NAIA District 24 Playoffs
Lincoln Memorial: 69–28 32–4
Belmont Rebels/Bruins[12] (Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference (NAIA)) (1986–1996)
1986–87 Belmont 15–15 7–9
1987–88 Belmont 22–9 15–1 NAIA District 24 Playoff
1988–89 Belmont 25–10 12–4 NAIA National Championships
1989–90 Belmont 27–7 14–2 NAIA District 24 Playoffs
1990–91 Belmont 23–9 11–5 NAIA District 24 Playoffs
1991–92 Belmont 22–10 12–4 NAIA District 24 Playoffs
1992–93 Belmont 30–6 12–4 NAIA Sweet Sixteen
1993–94 Belmont 30–7 14–2 1st NAIA Quarterfinals
1994–95 Belmont 37–2 18–0 1st NAIA Semifinals
1995–96 Belmont 29–11 13–5 NAIA Semifinals
Belmont Bruins[12] (NCAA Independent) (1996–2001)
1996–97 Belmont 15–11
1997–98 Belmont 9–18
1998–99 Belmont 14–13
1999–00 Belmont 7–21
2000–01 Belmont 13–15
Belmont Bruins[13] (Atlantic Sun Conference) (2001–2012)
2001–02 Belmont 11–17 8–12 T–7th
2002–03 Belmont 17–12 12–4 1st (North)
2003–04 Belmont 21–9 15–5 3rd NIT Opening Round
2004–05 Belmont 14–16 12–8 3rd
2005–06 Belmont 20–11 15–5 T–1st NCAA Round of 64
2006–07 Belmont 23–10 14–4 2nd< NCAA Round of 64
2007–08 Belmont 25–9 14–2 1st NCAA Round of 64
2008–09 Belmont 20–13 14–6 T–2nd CIT Quarterfinals
2009–10 Belmont 19–12 14–6 T–1st
2010–11 Belmont 30–5 19–1 1st NCAA Round of 64
2011–12 Belmont 27–8 16–2 1st NCAA Round of 64
Belmont Bruins[14] (Ohio Valley Conference) (2012–present)
2012–13 Belmont 26–7 14–2 1st (East) NCAA Round of 64
2013–14 Belmont 26–10 14–2 1st (East) NIT Quarterfinals
2014–15 Belmont 22–11 11–5 T–1st (East) NCAA Round of 64
2015–16 Belmont 20–12 12–4 1st (East) NIT First Round
2016–17 Belmont 23–7 15–1 1st (East) NIT Second Round
Belmont: 662–333 (.665) 348–105 (.768)
Total: 754–388 (.660)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]