Week 12: 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 12 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 previous 2019-20 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 12 winners are:

NCAA DI: Joe Gallo – Merrimack College

Joe Gallo In their first season as a Division I program, Coach Gallo’s squad has won eight straight games, including two this week, to claim first place in the NEC. On Thursday, the Warriors led wire to wire in a 71-60 home victory against St. Francis (NY). A 70-59 triumph over LIU on Saturday improved Merrimack to 15-8 (9-1 NEC) on the season. They are just two wins away from the NCAA record for most wins by a program in its first year after reclassifying to Division I, and have matched the NEC’s longest regular season winning streak in the last four years. The Warriors will look to make it nine straight when they travel to take on Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday.

NCAA DII: Matt Brock – University of Illinois – Springfield

Matt Brock Coach Brock guided UIS to a pair of dramatic wins over top-25 opponents this week. The Prairie Stars began the week by hosting No. 8 Bellarmine on Thursday. The visitors led for 34 minutes, but UIS fought to stay in the game and knocked down a game-winning three with 0.7 seconds remaining to come away with a stunning 77-75 victory. The Prairie Stars carried this momentum into Saturday’s match-up with No. 22 Indianapolis, hitting a three with 7.4 seconds left to force overtime. In overtime, UIS drained a pair of free throws to go ahead with 7.1 seconds left on the clock, eventually taking a hard-fought 89-86 victory. Now 12-8 (5-7 GLVC) on the season, the Prairie Stars will try to pick up their fourth straight win when they hit the road to take on Southwest Baptist on Thursday.

NCAA DIII: Elliot Steinmetz – Yeshiva University (NY)

Elliot Steinmetz With a pair of victories this week, Coach Steinmetz’s squad tied the program’s record for longest winning streak and clinched a postseason berth. On Thursday, the 24th ranked Maccabees defeated Purchase by a score of 86-73 to move one win away from clinching a spot in the Skyline Conference championships. A 100-79 victory over Manhattanville secured the Maccabee’s spot in the postseason and improved their record to 17-1 (9-0 Skyline) on the season. After dropping their first game of the season, Yeshiva has won 17 straight to tie the program record. They will attempt to break the record in a non-conference match-up at Williams on Monday evening.

NAIA: Alfred Williams – Xavier University of Louisiana

Alfred Williams Coach Williams led XULA to two more victories this week as they remained unbeaten in conference play and extended their winning streak to eight. The 15th ranked Gold Rush opened the week by clinching a winning record for the 26th time in 29 seasons with a 62-54 win over Edward Waters. In their next match-up, XULA trailed Rust by 10 at the half before using an astounding 35-2 run in the first 11:30 of the second half to come away with an 80-59 victory. Now 18-4 (6-0 GCAC) on the season, the Gold Rush wrap up their home-stand against Philander Smith on Monday.

JUCO: Kevin O’Connor – Murray State College (OK)

Coach O'ConnorCoach O’Connor’s Aggies continued their dominant play this week, picking up two more wins to move to 18-3 on the season. Murray State took down Connors State by a score of 81-72 at home on Monday before defeating Redlands 75-66 on the road on Thursday. The Aggies are currently ranked 21st in NJCAA DI – their first national ranking in program history – and have won 10 straight games. They will look to move to 10-0 in OCAC play when they return home to take on Western Oklahoma State on Thursday.

2019-20 HoopDirt.com / Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week Winners

Week 1

NCAA DI: Walter McCarty – University of Evansville
NCAA DII: Mark Downey – Northeastern State (OK)
NCAA DIII: Josh Merkel – Randolph-Macon College (VA)
NAIA: Kelly Wells – University of Pikeville (KY)
JUCO: Kyle Cooper – Western Texas College

Week 2

NCAA DI: Tony Bennett – University of Virginia
NCAA DII: Tobin Anderson – St. Thomas Aquinas College (NY)
NCAA DIII: Bosko Djurickovic – Carthage College (WI)
NAIA: Stacy Hollowell – Loyola University (LA)
JUCO: Anthony Fletcher – Eastfield College (TX)

Week 3

NCAA DI: Juwan Howard – University of Michigan
NCAA DII: Matt Healing – Pace University (NY)
NCAA DIII: Keith Bunkenburg – Benedictine University (IL)
NAIA: Todd Lorensen – Mount Marty College (SD)
JUCO: Cole Dewey – Otero Junior College (CO)

Week 4

NCAA DI: LaVall Jordan – Butler University
NCAA DII: Mike Donnelly – Florida Southern College
NCAA DIII: Landry Kosmalski – Swarthmore College (NY)
NAIA: Tae Norwood – Keiser University (FL)
JUCO: Billy Gillispie – Ranger College (TX)

Week 5

NCAA DI: Ritchie McKay – Liberty University
NCAA DII: Tom Klusman – Rollins College (FL)
NCAA DIII: Dave Niland – Penn State-Behrand
NAIA: Aaron Siebenthall – Ottawa University (KS)
JUCO: Brennan McCarthy – Northampton Community College (PA)

Week 6

NCAA DI: Steve Forbes – East Tennessee State University
NCAA DII: Damien Blair – West Chester University (PA)
NCAA DIII: Anthony Medina – University of St. Thomas (TX)
NAIA: Colby Blaine – College of Idaho
JUCO: Terry Bowe – Lakeland Community College (OH)

Week 7

NCAA DI: Kelvin Sampson – University of Houston
NCAA DII: DII Winter Break Week – No Winner
NCAA DIII: Pete Moran – John Carroll University (OH)
NAIA: Matt Wilber – Dakota Wesleyan University
JUCO: Eric Murphy – Florida SouthWestern State University

Week 8

NCAA DI: Brian Dutcher – San Diego State University
NCAA DII: Kyle Gerdeman – Lindenwood University (MO)
NCAA DIII: Jeff Brown – Middlebury College (VT)
NAIA: Patrick Crarey – Washington Adventist University (MD)
JUCO: Luke Strege – Mineral Area College (MO)

Week 9

NCAA DI: Scott Drew – Baylor University
NCAA DII: Eric Olen – University of California, San Diego
NCAA DIII: Jim Calhoun – University of Saint Joseph (CT)
NAIA: Preston Ingram – Missouri Baptist University
JUCO: Zach Settembre – Tallahassee Community College (FL)

Week 10

NCAA DI: Nate Oats – University of Alabama
NCAA DII: Bart Lundy – Queens University of Charlotte
NCAA DIII: Jean Bain – Brandeis University (MA)
NAIA: Josh Gamblin – Mid-America Christian University
JUCO: Pat Smith – Moberly Area Community College

Week 11

NCAA DI: Anthony Grant – University of Dayton
NCAA DII: Matt Majkrzak – Northern Michigan University
NCAA DIII: Damien Strahorn Colby College (ME)
NAIA: Chris Briggs – Georgetown College (KY)
JUCO: Carl Howell – Skagit Valley College (WA)

Previous HoopDirt.com Coach of the Year Award Winners:

Division I

Division II

Division III




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