Courtesy of WMU Athletics/Sean Fagan
The fifteen finalists for the 2014 Hugh Durham award were announced on Wednesday, with Western Michigan head men's basketball coach Steve Hawkins listed among the finalists.
"It is always so difficult to limit the list of finalists," said CollegeInsider.com's Angela Lento. "This list could easily include 25 plus names."
Hawkins led the Broncos to 20+ wins for the sixth time in his 11-year tenure, as well as the 10th time in program history, despite returning just two starters from last season's squad that finished the year with a 22-13 record. The Broncos' 14-4 record in conference play was good enough to give them the eighth MAC West title in program history, the seventh under Hawkins, as well as the second MAC regular season championship for "Hawk" since he took the reins of the program in the 2003-04 season. He coached the Broncos to two wins in the 2014 MAC Tournament, leading WMU to its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and the second in his tenure.
Earlier this season, Hawkins notched his 200th win as head coach of the Broncos, making him one of just eight coaches in MAC history to surpass 200 wins. Hawkins recorded his 100th career MAC win in the conference opener against Toledo on Jan. 8, which made him the ninth coach in conference history to win 100 MAC games. His .617 winning percentage in MAC games ranks seventh in conference history.
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.
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.
2014 HUGH DURHAM AWARD FINALISTS
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
Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin
Will Wade, Chattanooga