Bearcats' McCollum named NABC Division II Coach of the Year
Posted Mar 25, 2020 3:38 PM
KANSAS CITY, MO. – The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced today that Northwest Missouri State University head coach Ben McCollum is the 2020 NABC Division II Coach of the Year presented by Wilson.
McCollum has become a regular as NABC Division II Coach of the Year, winning the honor in three of the last four seasons. The Bearcats finished the season with a 31-1 record and were ranked first in the final NABC Division II poll. McCollum won his sixth MIAA Coach of the Year honor as Northwest closed out its season on 23-game win streak. Northwest surpassed the 30-win mark for the fifth time in program history (third time in four years) and the 20-win mark for the ninth consecutive season.
"I would like to accept this award on behalf of my players who deserve the national accolades," McCollum said. "I am humbled and thankful to be able to coach the best players in the country. I would also like to thank the NABC for everything they do to support college basketball and for honoring our program with this award."
McCollum equaled Cal State Bakersfield's Pat Douglass for the most NABC Division II Coach of the Year awards with three. Douglass captured his awards in 1993, 1994 and 1997. McCollum has been the NABC Coach of the Year in 2017, 2019 and 2020.
ST. JOSEPH – Missouri Western head men's basketball coach Sundance Wicks has announced his resignation to join the men's basketball coaching staff at the University of Wyoming. Wicks will join new head coach Jeff Linder's staff at Wyoming after two seasons leading the Griffons.
"This is bitter sweet. Leaving a place you love dearly for the place you were raised and call home is as hard a decision as I have ever made," Wicks said. "Wyoming has always been my Graceland and it is a dream to connect my family back home with the profession I love in the state I grew up in. The hardest part is knowing I won't be getting to work again with our amazing young men and the staff we assembled. However, I know that this basketball program is in a better place than when we found it and the future is bright.
"It was an honor to share in creating this culture and building this program back up to where it is now. The returning players know how to change their best daily and are now player led by the sacrifices they have made. A program and a team is never about one person but about the heart that lives on through its collective pride."
"I will forever be grateful for Dr. Josh Looney, President Wilson and past President Dr. Vartabedian for the entrusting me with my first opportunity to lead a program. I can never thank all the administration and coaches in the athletic department enough for the friendship, late night talks and leadership examples. I learned something new every single day. This is an amazing job with special people. To all the special souls that I connected with, you know who you are, I will miss you all and your text messages, tweets and phone calls to keep us juiced! None of what we accomplished this past two years was possible without every single one of you."
In two seasons, Wicks turned around a once proud program at Missouri Western. His first Griffon team doubled its win total from the previous season and his 2019-20 team improved by six wins over his first season to finish 18-14 overall, 13-6 in the MIAA with a fourth place finish in the conference standings and an MIAA Championship semifinal appearance. Wicks' second season brought the most wins for the program in a decade; most MIAA wins in 18 years; highest MIAA finish in 10 years; longest home win streak (11) in 17 years; most home wins in 14 years; and a program-record 305 made 3-point field goals in a season. In his two years at MWSU, Wicks had six players named All-MIAA including the program's first-ever MIAA Freshman of the Year (Will Eames, 2020) and first, first team All-MIAA and NABC All-District selection (Tyrell Carroll, 2020) in 14 years.
"Two years ago, we set out on a mission to find a leader who could re-connect our community with Missouri Western men's basketball, pack the Fieldhouse again, ignite pride in Griffon fans and serve the city of St. Joseph," said MWSU Vice President for Intercollege Athletics Dr. Josh Looney. "Under Coach Wicks, we have seen a massive program shift in 24 months and are in position to sustain this momentum thanks to the young men Coach Wicks has brought into this program and a community that has gotten behind this vision. We will continue to make St. Joseph proud. Sundance has certainly done that, and we are incredibly appreciative for his leadership."
Wicks went 30-32 overall in his two seasons at Missouri Western and 19-19 in the MIAA. A search for the sixth head coach of Griffon men's basketball will begin immediately.