SFA coach up for another national award
Nacogdoches (SFA) — Stephen F. Austin head men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood was named one of 15 finalists for the 2014 Hugh Durham award announced by the award committee on Wednesday evening.
The Hugh Durham Award is given annually to the nation's top mid-major
coach. The award is named in honor of Hugh Durham, who had retired at the end of the 2004-05 season. Durham is one of just twelve coaches to have led two different programs to the NCAA Final Four (Florida State in 1972 and Georgia in 1983). He is the only coach among that group to have led both schools to their lone Final Four appearance.
Underwood, the 2013-14 Southland Conference Coach of the Year, is also a finalist for the 2014 Joe B. Hall and the Jim Phelan awards.
Underwood put the Lumberjacks on the national map upsetting fifth-seeded VCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on a four-point play to send the game into overtime, the first NCAA Tournament win in program history. The ‘Jacks, the conference regular season and tournament champion, set a new school record for most wins in a single season with the upset of Shaka Smart's havoc-run VCU squad for win No. 32 (32-3).
Before the win in the big dance, Underwood had heads turning as he led SFA to a program- and conference-best 29 wins in the regular season and a perfect 18-0 record in SLC play. Under his guidance, SFA became the first Southland school in the league's 51-year history to win 29games in the regular season and first 30-game winner, passing the 1984-85 Louisiana Tech squad that went 29-3 and reached the Sweet 16 with Karl Malone. Along the way, the ‘Jacks joined top-ranked Florida and second-ranked Wichita State as the only schools to go undefeated in conference play this season. SFA became just the 18th team all-time to do so at the Division I level in conference schedules of 18 games or more.
In Week 17, the ‘Jacks closed out their conference road schedule 9-0, the first time they have gone undefeated on the road in league play in the Division I era.
With 32 wins, Underwood ranks third all-time in the NCAA's top 10 best career starts at the Division I level. Underwood passed Steve Prohm (Murray State - 31-2, 2012) and Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh - 31-5, 2004) with the won over VCU.
SFA, which had its nation-leading 29-game overall win streak ended by fourth-seeded UCLA in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, carries both its home and road winning streaks over into next season. The `Jacks will enter 2014-15 tied with Duke for the longest activehome winning streak at 33 straight and tied with Wichita State for the longest active road win streak at 12 games. SFA also lead the nation with 14 road wins this season.
The 14 other finalists include: Mike Brennan (American), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Tim Clues (Iona), Steve Hawkins (Western Michigan), Bob Hoffman (Mercer), Ron Hunter (Georgia State), Tony Jasick (IPFW), Tod Kowalczyk (Toledo), Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central), Jeff Neubauer (Eastern Kentucky), Saul Phillips (North Dakota State), Monte Ross (Delaware) and Will Wade (Chattanooga).
The winner of the 2014 Durham award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.