Underwood up for national coaching award

By Steve Sell
March 20, 2014

BOSTON — McPherson native Brad Underwood is among the 15 finalists for the 2014 Jim Phelan Award. The list was announced on Wednesday. 

Underwood is in his first year at Stephen F. Austin University, where his team is 31-2 and has won 28 games in a row. It advanced to the NCAA Tournament and will play Virginia Commonwealth at 6:27 p.m. Friday.

"There are a lot of coaches doing outstanding jobs this season," CollegeInsider.com's Riley Wallace said. "It was difficult to reduce the list to 15 finalists."

Other finalists include Steve Alford (UCLA), Rick Barnes (Texas), John Beilein (Michigan), Tony Bennett (Virginia), Ed Cooley (Providence), Billy Donovan (Florida), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Danny Manning (Tulsa), Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), Sean Miller (Arizona), Greg McDermott (Creighton), Tim Miles (Nebraksa), Craig Neal (New Mexico) and Jay Wright (Villanova)

The Jim Phelan Award is presented annually to the nation's top Division I coach. The award is named in honor of  Phelan, who coached his entire career at Mount Saint Mary's University. He led the Mountaineers to the 1962 NCAA Men's Division II Basketball championship.

When he retired in 2003, after coaching for 49 years, he amassed 830 wins (overall record of 830-524) in over 1,300 games in all divisions. In those 49 years, 19 of his teams amassed 20 or more wins in a season.

The winner of the 2014 Phelan Award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.