LI Men's Basketball Coach Perri named Joe B. Hall finalist

LIU Brooklyn head men's basketball coach Jack Perri has been named one of the 10 finalists for the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year Award, it was announced by CollegeInsider.com on Thursday. The award is presented annually to the top first-year coach in NCAA Division I college basketball.

After spending seven seasons as the right-hand man to previous head coach Jim Ferry, Perri was elevated to head coach in the spring of 2012 and has guided the Blackbirds to 18 wins in 2012-13, despite losing 2012 Northeast Conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd to a season-ending injury just eight games into the year. LIU Brooklyn recently advanced to the NEC Tournament semifinals with a 91-83 win over Quinnipiac.

Perri restructured the high-powered LIU offense following the midseason loss of Boyd, and has the unit ranked among the national leaders in scoring (eighth at 78.6 ppg). The Manalapan, N.J. native mentored this season's NEC Player of the Year Jamal Olasewere to career highs in scoring and rebounding, as well as junior point guard Jason Brickman to a LIU single-season record in assists. Brickman currently leads all NCAA Divsion I players in assists per game (8.5).

The ten finalists include Kevin Baggett (Rider), Jamion Christian (Mount St. Mary's), Mike Martin (Brown), Bashir Mason (Wagner), Dan Muller (Illinois State), Kevin Ollie (Connecticut), Richard Pitino (FIU), Nick Robinson (Southern Utah) and Travis Williams (Tennessee State).

The award is named in the honor of Joe B. Hall who was given the task of following the legendary Adolph Rupp. In his first season at the University of Kentucky, Hall finished 20-8, won the SEC and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals. Hall is one of only three men to win an NCAA championship as a player (1949- Kentucky) and coach (1978- Kentucky). The only others to achieve this feat are Bob Knight and Dean Smith.

The 2013 recipient will be announced on April 5 at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.