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NJIT's Jim Engles accepts the 2015 John McLendon award at the CollegeInsider.com Award's Banquet on April 3 in Indianapolis.

April 3, 2015


INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- NJIT's Jim Engles is the recipient of the 2015 John McLendon National Coach of the Year award.

The John McLendon award is presented annually to the top collegiate head coach. The award will encompass Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO.

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 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.

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