Northwest Missouri State University’s Ben McCollum is the 2019 recipient of the John McLendon Collegiate Basketball Coach of the Year award as presented by CollegeInsider.com.
McCollum led the Bearcats to a perfect 38-0 record and the NCAA Division II national championship. Northwest became only the fifth program to complete an undefeated season and capture the NCAA Division II national title.
McCollum has guided the Bearcats to six straight MIAA regular season titles and four consecutive MIAA tournament crowns. In 10 seasons at Northwest, McCollum has an overall record of 241-75. In NCAA tournament play, McCollum has a mark of 19-5 with two national championships (2017, 2019).
The Storm Lake, Iowa, native is the first non-Division I head coach to receive the McLendon Award.
The John McLendon Award is presented annually to the top collegiate head coach and includes Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and NJCAA.
A trailblazer and one of the true pioneers of the game, McLendon became the first African American coach to win an integrated national championship. His team went on to win the NAIA Division I Men’s Tournament in 1957, 1958 and 1959, making him the first coach in history to win three consecutive NAIA championships.
In 1962 he became the first African American head coach in a major professional league (ABL) with the Cleveland Pipers. In 1966 he became the first African American head coach of a predominantly-white university when he took over the Cleveland State program. He led the team to their best record in school history.
In 1969, McLendon was hired by the Denver Rockets and became the first African American head coach in the American Basketball Association. After a brief stint with the Rockets, McLendon ended his 25-year professional coaching career with a winning percentage of .760 and a lifetime career average of 523 victories and 165 losses.
Past McLendon Award recipients
2018 – Chris Beard (Texas Tech)
2017 – Chris Holtmann (Ohio State)
2016 – King Rice (Monmouth)
2015 – Jim Engles (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
2014 – Gregg Marshall (Wichita State)
2013 – John Thompson (Georgetown)
2012 – Horace Broadnax (Savannah State)