BOSTON, Mass. - Stephen F. Austin head coach Brad Underwood has been named one of 16 finalists for the 2015 Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year award, announced today.
The Hugh Durham Award is presented annually to the nation's top mid-major coach. The award is named in honor of Hugh Durham, one of just 12 coaches to have led two different programs to the Final Four (Florida State in 1972 and Georgia in 1983). He is the only coach in either program's history to lead their school to a Final Four appearance.
Underwood is coming off another marquee season at SFA, guiding the Lumberjacks to a 29-5 record and their second-straight NCAA tournament appearance. The `Jacks posted a 17-1 record in Southland Conference play, capturing the regular season crown for the third-straight year, and became just the second team in SLC history to win back-to-back regular season and conference tournament titles.
With Underwood at the helm, SFA posted a 15-1 record at home, establishing William R. Johnson Coliseum as one of the top home court advantages in the nation. The Lumberjacks have won 47 of their last 48 home games, including 29-straight SLC games.
Under Underwood's tutelage, Thomas Walkup was named the 2014-15 Southland Conference Player of the Year, joining teammate Jacob Parker who was the SLC Player of the Year in 2013-14. Walkup was also named the SLC Tournament MVP for the second-straight year and was a member of the All-Defensive Team for the second time as Parker garnered second team All-SLC selections.
Underwood has etched his name in NCAA history during his first two seasons in Nacogdoches, establishing himself as the winningest second-year coach in NCAA Division I history with a 61-8 record. The 61 wins surpassed former UNC coach Bill Guthridge's 58 from 1997-99 for the most all-time while his .884 winning percentage tops Everett Case's .873 winning percentage at North Carolina State from 1946-48.
This is the second time Underwood has been a finalist for the award, given annually to the top mid-major coach. The 2014 Joe B. Hall Award winner, Underwood was also a finalist for the 2014 Jim Phelan Award (top Division I coach) and was the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) Coach of the Year.
The other 15 finalists for the award include Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Will Brown (Albany), Bobby Collins (Maryland-Eastern Shore), Keno Davis (Central Michigan), Bryce Drew (Valparaiso), Jim Engles (NJIT), Bill Herron (New Hampshire), Bobby Hurley (Buffalo), Ben Jacobsen (Northern Iowa), James Jones (Yale), Brian Katz (Sacramento State), Jim Les (UC Davis), LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central), Steve Prohm (Murray State) and Heath Schroyer (UT-Martin).
The 2015 Durham National Coach of the Year award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 3rd in Indianapolis.