Collins wins Ben Jobe Award

University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s (UMES) men’s basketball head coach Bobby Collins received his most prestigious award to date for the fabulous season he amassed for the Hawks. Collins was named the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year on Friday, April, 3, an award presented annually to the nation’s top minority coach.

It was presented at the Awards Banquet held in Indianapolis, the site of the 2015 men’s final four. The banquet was held at the Hyatt Regency, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) headquarters hotel.

“I’m blessed to be the winner of the 2015 Ben Jobe Award,” Collins posted on a social media account. “This is an honor, I have to thank God, my coaching staff, my team, and the UMES family for believing and trusting in me.”

Collins was already piling up the hardware, having been named the 2015 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year. He was also named a finalist for the Hugh Durham Award, presented annually to the top mid-major coach in the nation. Collins led UMES to the best season in 41 years, the 1973-74 season when UMES amassed 27 wins and made a second round appearance in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). This season he guided the Hawks to an 18-15 record, third-place in the league with an 11-5 mark, up from 13th the previous season, and an appearance in the Post Season Tournament. It was the first NCAA post-season appearance for UMES since that 73-74 campaign and the first of any kind in over 30 years.

The Hawks had more wins this season than the last three combined and posted a sold non-conference record as well with a 3-1 mark against the Atlantic-10. They were one of the top three teams in the nation in road wins.

The Jobe award was created in 2010 and is presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I basketball and voted on by a 30-person award committee consisting of five current DI head coaches, five retired head coaches, 10 athletic directors and/or conference administrators, five NBA scouts and/or administrators and five staff members. Coach Ben Jobe is the chairman of the awards committee.

Past recipients include Kevin Ollie of Connecticut in 2013, Sean Woods from Mississippi Valley State in 2012, Cuonzo Martin from Missouri State in 2011, Ed Cooley of Fairfield in 2010 and last year’s winner, Willis Wilson of Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Collins was one of 16 finalists for the 2015 award that included fellow MEAC coaches Robert Jones of Norfolk State and LeVelle Moton of North Carolina Central. Other nominees included: Tommy Amaker of Harvard, John Thompson III of Georgetown, Mike Davis of Texas Southern, Kevin Keatts of UNC Wilmington and Marvin Menzies of New Mexico State. Past winners Wilson and Cooley were also nominated.

The award is named after Coach Jobe, who spent the majority of his career coaching at historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs). He won 524 games in 31 seasons and is best known for his work at Southern University. During a ten-year stretch (1986-1995) he took the Jaguars to four NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance. He was 209-141 while at Southern. HE never posted a losing season while with the Jaguars. His resume includes five SIAC Championships, 11 SWAC titles and two NAIA Tournament Championships. One of his most memorable moments was a 93-78 win by Southern over Georgia Tech in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament, one the most memorable upsets in tournament history.

He has also served as head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State.

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