Long Island University
ATLANTA - LIU Brooklyn head men's basketball coach Jack Perri was named the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year, it was announced on Friday at CollegeInsider.com's annual awards banquet.
Perri, who guided the Blackbirds to an unprecedented third straight Northeast Conference Tournament title in 2013, becomes the second recipient of the award that is handed out annually to the top first-year head coach at the NCAA Division I level (Steve Prohm, Murray State in 2012).
After taking over at the helm of the LIU men's basketball program in April 2012, Perri led the squad to its third consecutive 20-win season and another trip to the NCAA Tournament. The three-straight 20-win years marks the first time the LIU program has accomplished the feat since 1981-84.
Sixteen of the 20 wins came following the loss of 2012 Northeast Conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd to a season-ending injury just eight games into the year. Perri restructured the high-powered LIU offense following the midseason loss and boosted the unit into the top five nationally in scoring (fifth at 79.5 ppg). The Blackbirds registered 90 or more points on eight times during the season, and failed to hit the 70-point plateau just three times.
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 for the award included 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.