Week 1: HoopDirt.com Coach of the Week presented by Just Play Solutions

By AJ Nelson, HoopDirt.com staff writer

Congratulations to the following coaches who have been selected as the Week 1 HoopDirt.com Coach of the Week presented by Just Play Solutions. These coaches are now eligible to receive the HoopDirt.com National Coach of the Year Award presented by Just Play Solutions which will be announced at the conclusion of the 2019-20 college basketball season.

This is the fifth season that HoopDirt.com has run the Coach of the Week and Coach of the Year programs. The 2018-19 Weekly winners, and a list of all-time COY winners can be found following this weeks honorees.

To nominate coaches for future weeks, please email [email protected] with your selection(s).

The Week 1 winners are:

NCAA DI: Walter McCarty – University of EvansvilleWalter McCarty 2019-20

Coach McCarty has been making headlines in the early season, as his Evansville squad pulled off what could be the upset of the year on the road against top-ranked Kentucky. The Aces opened the season with a home victory over Ball State before heading to Lexington on Tuesday to take on McCarty’s alma mater, who had moved into the #1 spot in the country just a day prior. When all was said and done, the Purple Aces had shocked the college basketball world, coming away with a 67-64 win. The upset marked the first time in program history that Evansville had beaten the top-ranked team in the country, and snapped Kentucky’s 52 game home winning streak over unranked non-conference opponents. After an 89-71 win over IU-Kokomo on Thursday, Coach McCarty and the Aces are sitting at 3-0 on the season as they await a home matchup with SMU tonight. 

NCAA DII: Mark Downey – Northeastern State (OK)

Mark DowneyCoach Downey has continued his revitalization of the Northeastern State basketball program into the 2019-20 season, leading the RiverHawks (4-0) to their best start since 2013. Downey improved upon the previous year’s win total in each of his first two seasons with the program, and has his squad off to a dominant start this season, taking their first four games by an average of 33 points. The 52.3 points per game that the RiverHawks are allowing is the lowest mark in the nation. NSU is back in action tonight at home against Langston.

NCAA DIII: Josh Merkel – Randolph-Macon College (VA)

Josh MerkelRandolph-Macon, led by Coach Merkel, has ridden a stifling brand of defense to an undefeated start to the season. The Yellow Jackets have not allowed more than 50 points in any of their first four games, giving up an average of 46.8 points per contest. Coach Merkel’s squad most recently defeated Messiah by a score of 63-50 to claim the Messiah Tip-Off Tournament title on Saturday. After opening the season ranked 24th nationally in the D3hoops.com Top 25, the Yellow Jackets will likely be jumping up the rankings after their hot start. They will look to move to 5-0 on Wednesday at Washington & Lee.

NAIA: Kelly Wells – University of Pikeville (KY)

Coach Wells is no stranger to success. With a win on Saturday, he has now led UPike to a record of 9-0 or better to start four of the last five seasons. The Bears have dominated opponents in the early-going, as eight of their nine wins have come by double digits, including a 79-point win (132-53) on Friday. Having opened the season ranked fifth in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, UPIKE will look to move up when the first poll is released on November 27th. The Bears will try to make it 10 straight to start the season as they face off against Wright State- Lake in a home contest.

JUCO: Kyle Cooper – Western Texas College

Kyle CooperIn his first season at the helm of Western Texas, Coach Cooper has lead his squad to a 9-0 start and a spot in the NJCAA DI national rankings. Western Texas began the season unranked, but five straight wins to start the season vaulted them to #16 in the country. The Westerners have since added four more wins, the most recent being an 81-80 victory over McLennan Community College on Saturday, and will look to continue moving up in the rankings when the next poll is released. Next up for Coach Cooper’s squad is a home matchup against Loyalty Prep on Wednesday.

Previous HoopDirt.com Coach of the Year Award Winners:

Division I

Division II

Division III




2018-19 HoopDirt.com / Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week Winners

Week 1

NCAA DI: Bob Richey – Furman University
NCAA DII: Ben McCollum – Northwest Missouri State University
NCAA DIII: Dale Wellman – Nebraska Wesleyan University
NAIA: Aaron Coombs – Oklahoma Pan Handle State University
JUCO: Anthony Figueroa – Parkland College (IL)

Week 2

NCAA DI: Greg McDermott – Creighton University
NCAA DII: Stan Gouard – University of Indianapolis
NCAA DIII: Quintin Grogan – Johnson & Wales University Denver
NAIA: Mike Newell – Dillard University (LA)
JUCO: Craig Fletchall – Barton Community (KS)

Week 3

NCAA DI: Eric Musselman – University of Nevada
NCAA DII: Jeff Price – Lynn University (FL)
NCAA DIII: Jimmy Smith – Millsaps College (MS)
NAIA: Rocky Lamar – MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS)
JUCO: Nkrumah Jones – Bunker Hill Community College (MA)

Week 4

NCAA DI: Frank Haith – University of Tulsa
NCAA DII: Billy Taylor – Belmont Abbey College (NC)
NCAA DIII: Andrew Weber – Rockford University (IL)
NAIA: Mike McBride – Holy Cross College (IN)
JUCO: Mark White – Tallahassee Community College (FL)

Week 5

NCAA DI: Rick Barnes – University of Tennessee
NCAA DII: Scott Burrell – Southern Connecticut State University
NCAA DIII: Larry Anderson – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NAIA: Stan Holt – Langston University (OK)
JUCO: Hank Plona – Indian Hills Community College (IA)
USCAA: Patrick Crarey, II -Washington Adventist University (MD)

Week 6

NCAA DI: Kelvin Sampson – University of Houston
NCAA DII: Eric Bovaird – Chaminade University (HI)
NCAA DIII: Carl Danzig – University of Scranton (PA)
NAIA: Jared Ronai – Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH)
JUCO: William West – Prince George’s Community College (MD)

Week 7

NCAA DI: Johnny Jones -Texas Southern University
NCAA DII: Jim Crutchfield – Nova Southeastern University (FL)
NCAA DIII: Tom Spanbauer – SUNY Cortland
NAIA: Jayson Artaz – Bethel College (KS)
JUCO: Jeff Brustad – Monroe College (NY)

Week 8

NCAA DI: Chris Mullin – St. John’s University
Scott Davenport – Bellarmine University (KY)
Matt Siverling – Wisconsin-Eau Claire
R-Jay Barsh – Southeastern University (FL)
Mark Bunker – Scottsdale CC (AZ)
Don Silveri – Villa Maria College (NY)

Week 9

NCAA DI: Kermit Davis – Ole Miss
Bart Lundy – Queens University of Charlotte
Greg Dunne – SUNY Brockport
Ty Harrelson – Wayland Baptist University (TX)
Mike Burris – Olney Central College (IL)
LeShawn Hammett – Penn State Wilkes-Barre

Week 10

NCAA DI: Nate Oats – University of Buffalo
DII: Tobin Anderson – St. Thomas Aquinas College (NY)
DIII: Jeff Brown – Middlebury College (VT)
(Co-Winner): Donnie Butcher – University of the Cumberlands (KY)
(Co-Winner): Kevin Easley – Life University (GA)
Chris Oney – Pearl River CC (MS)

Week 11

NCAA DI:  Steve Henson – University of Texas at San Antonio
DII: Mark Dowey – Northeastern State University (OK)
DIII: Damien Strahorn – Colby College (ME)
: Denis Shaefer – Grand View University (IA)
: Corey McKendry – Schoolcraft College (MI)
Jonathan Pena – Berkeley College (NY)

Week 12

NCAA DI: Mark Few – Gonzaga University
Andre Cook – St. Edwards University (TX)
: George Barber – Greenville University (IL)
: Eric Echelbarger – Indiana University Kokomo
:Billy Gillispie – Ranger College (TX)

Week 13

NCAA DI: James Jones – Yale University
DII: Mike McDonald – Daemen College (NY)
DIII: Matt Logie -Whitworth University (WA)
: John Teasley -Stillman College (AL)
: Steve DeMeo – Northwest Florida State College
Paul Hogan – NHTI, Concord’s Community College (NH)

Week 14

NCAA DI: Mike Krzyzewski – Duke University
DII: Bryan Rooney – Cal State East Bay
DIII: Shawn Cassidy – Concordia University Wisconsin
: Danny Neville – University of Jamestown (ND)
: Lance Madison – Lamar State College-Port Arthur (TX)

Week 15

NCAA DI: Wes Miller – UNC Greensboro
Gerald Holmes – Bloomfield College (NJ)
Todd Peretz – Mitchell College (CT)
Chris Briggs – Georgetown College (KY)
: Eric Murphy – Florida Southwestern University
Anderson Bynum – Clinton College (SC)

Week 16

NCAA DI: Johnny Dawkins – University of Central Florida
Fred Watson – Miles College (AL)
Jean Bain – Brandeis University (MA)
Vinay Patel – Oklahoma City University
: Brent Wilson – SUNY Sullivan (NY)

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