BOSTON, Mass. – Coastal Carolina men’s basketball head coach Cliff Ellis is one of 16 finalists for the 2011 Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year award.
All of the finalists either won or shared the regular season title in their conference or won their conference tournament championship.
“This is a great group of coaches,” Hugh Durham said. “They all deserve recognition for the job they have done this season.”
The winner will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet on April 1 in Houston, site of the men’s basketball championship.
Ellis guided the Chanticleers to their second straight Big South regular season championship and berth in the National Invitation Tournament. Coastal Carolina finished the season with a 28-6 overall record and a 16-2 mark inside the Big South Conference.
The Chants tied the single-season school record for the most wins and became the first team in Big South history to win 16 league games.
Coastal Carolina was also a perfect 9-0 on the road in conference this season and became just the second team in league history to accomplish that feat. In addition, the Chants are also the first team in conference history to win five Big South road games by at least 20 points. Coastal won by 22 at VMI (Jan. 6), 21 at UNC Asheville (Jan. 20), 24 at High Point (Jan. 27), 23 at Radford (Jan. 29) and 20 at Presbyterian (Feb. 10).
The Chanticleers are also the first team in Big South history to win at least 25 games in back-to-back seasons and also now own the conference record for the most wins in consecutive seasons with 56.
Individually, Ellis secured his 600th win since becoming an NCAA Division I head coach following a 70-67 win over Liberty on Jan 8. He became just the 27th coach in NCAA history with 600 NCAA Division I wins. Ellis owns an all-time Division I record of 614-384 and ranks 25th on the NCAA Division I coaching wins list. Ellis also has the ninth-most wins of any active NCAA Division I head coach.
Ellis recorded his 11th career 20-win season earlier this year and has now directed four different Division I programs to at least two 20-win campaigns during his tenure. In addition, he owns five seasons with at least 25 wins. In his 35 years as a head coach, Ellis has been named Coach of the Year in four difference Conferences (Sun Belt, ACC, SEC, Big South).
The award, which is presented annually to the top mid-major coach in division I college basketball, is named after Hugh Durham who is the first and only coach in the history of NCAA Division I basketball to lead two different schools to the NCAA Final Four for the first and only time in each school’s history (Florida State University in 1972 and University of Georgia in 1983).
Durham is the only coach in NCAA Division I history to be the all-time winningest coach at three different universities. His career spanned five decades at Florida State, Georgia, and Jacksonville University. He finished is his career with 634 wins.
2011 Hugh Durham Award Finalists
Tommy Amaker – Harvard
Randy Bennett – St. Mary’s
Rick Byrd – Belmont
Ed Cooley – Fairfield
Cliff Ellis – Coastal Carolina
Jim Ferry – Long Island
B.J. Hill – Northern Colorado
Rob Jeter – Milwaukee
Sydney Johnson – Princeton
Greg Kampe – Oakland
Jim Larranaga – George Mason
Cuonzo Martin- Missouri State
Dave Paulsen – Bucknell
Clifford Reed – Bethune-Cookman
Brad Stevens – Butler
Blaine Taylor – Old Dominion