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2018 John McLendon Award

April 2, 2018


SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Texas Tech’s Chris Beard is the recipient of the 2018 John McLendon award.
Picked to finished anywhere from 7th to last in the Big 12, Beard led Texas Tech to one of the best seasons in school history. 
The Red Raiders finished 27-10 and made their first-ever appearance in Elite 8. The 27 victories were the second-most for Texas Tech only behind the 1995-96 squad which finished 30-2 and earned a spot in the Sweet 16.    
“Chris Beard should no longer be considered one of the most underrated coaches in America,” said CollegeInsider.com’s Angela Lento. “He should just be considered one of the top coaches in college basketball. All he does is win.”
This season Beard’s team won the most Big 12 games in school history (11) and they finished tied for 2nd place in the conference, which is the program’s best-ever finish in the league.

The John McLendon award is presented annually to the top collegiate head coach. The award encompasses 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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