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 2020-21 college basketball season.

This is the sixth season that HoopDirt.com has run the Coach of the Week and Coach of the Year programs. This season’s previous weekly winners, and a list of all-time COY winners can be found following this week’s honorees.

This season will be a bit different, however. As college basketball adjusts to life with COVID, so will we. Not every level will be honored on a weekly basis – we will honor as many of the levels as possible provided enough games are played. It’s different than in the past, but we still hope to have enough weekly winners at each level to name a Coach of the Year (NCAA DI, D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO) at the end of the season

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

The Week 12 winners are:

NCAA DI: Scott Davenport – Bellarmine University

DavenportScott2021 Coach Davenport’s squad picked up two big road wins this week, extending their winning streak to 10 in their first year as a Division I program. On Friday, the Knights held off a late comeback attempt by North Alabama to come away with a 66-64 victory. Bellarmine dominated the following day’s rematch, leading by 23 at the half en route to an 87-63 blowout. The 13-5 (10-2 ASUN) Knights’ 10-game winning streak is now the fourth-longest in the nation, behind only Gonzaga, Belmont, and Baylor. They are back in action on Friday, when they take on North Florida in the first of a two game road series.

NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Todd Eisner – Winona State University

Coach Eisner picked up a milestone victory this week as his Warriors won a pair of games. Winona State swept Concordia-St. Paul over the weekend to improve to 6-5 (4-4 NSIC) on the season. However, Saturday’s 77-58 triumph marked the 500th win of Coach Eisner’s head coaching career, which includes stops at Viterbo, Bellevue, Benedictine (KS), and Midland, in addition to Winona State. He will look for win No. 501 on Friday evening, as the Warriors face off against Upper Iowa at home.

NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Mike Helfer – Valdosta State University

Helfer, Mike 2018 Coach Helfer also gathered career win No. 500 this week. His 22nd-ranked Blazers took down Auburn Montgomery twice this weekend, moving to 12-4 (12-4 GSC) on the season. It was Friday’s 91-87 win that marked the milestone victory in Coach Helfer’s 24-year career. In addition to Valdosta State, Helfer spent eight years at the helm of Southern Polytechnic, where he picked up 186 of his wins. Now with a career record of 501-228, Coach Helfer will lead his squad back into battle on Friday, when the Blazers travel to take on West Florida.

NCAA DIII: Bill Fenlon – DePauw University

Bill FenlonTwo impressive road wins this week have Coach Fenlon’s Tigers off to their best start since the 2001-02 season. On Saturday, No. 13 DePauw trailed Wooster by as many as 18 in the second half, but rallied back to come away with a thrilling 100-97 victory. The Tigers used another big second half in Sunday’s rematch, outscoring Wooster by 12 in the frame to secure a 95-85 triumph. Now 7-0 on the season, DePauw will look to stay perfect when they take on Denison on the road on Thursday.

NAIA: John Teasley – Stillman College

John Teasley Image Coach Teasley guided Stillman to three wins in three days this week as the Tigers improved to 13-1 on the season. No. 15 Stillman kicked off their week by taking an 89-79 victory over Rust on Thursday, before beginning a two-game series against Blue Mountain College the following day. The Tigers cruised to a 95-68 win in the series opener, but found themselves in a tightly-contested battle on Saturday. A pair of free throws with six seconds remaining, however, pushed Stillman to their seventh consecutive victory. Now 13-1 (11-1 SSAC) on the season, the Tigers are back in action tonight against Mobile.

JUCO: Pete Pena – Pensacola State College

Pete Pena Coach Pena led the Pirates to a pair of victories this week, including a huge road win over a top opponent. Pensacola State began their week with a 74-67 win over Gulf Coast State before hitting the road to take on No. 2 Tallahassee Community College. The Pirates jumped out to a nine-point halftime lead and led for much of the second half before finding themselves down 72-70 with just under two minutes remaining. A pair of clutch threes then gave the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish, as they left Tallahassee with a stunning 76-73 victory.  After a 1-5 start, Pensacola State has now won two in a row, and will look to stay hot when they take on Northwest Florida State on Wednesday.

2020-21 HoopDirt.com / Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week Winners

Week 1

NCAA DI: Mark Few – Gonzaga University
NCAA DII: Jeff Horner – Truman State University (MO)
NCAA DIII: Clif Carroll – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX)
NAIA: Greg Tonagel – Indiana Wesleyan University
JUCO: No week 1 winner awarded

Week 2

NCAA DI: Mike Magpayo – UC Riverside
NCAA DII: Brian Good – Wingate University (NC)
NCAA DIII: No week 2 winner awarded
NAIA: Dugan Lyne – Martin Methodist College (TN)
JUCO: No week 2 winner awarded

Week 3

NCAA DI: Lamont Paris – Tennessee Chattanooga
NCAA DII: Mike DeGeorge – Colorado Mesa University
NCAA DIII: Neal Young – Covenant College (GA)
NAIA: Chris Dial – Our Lady of the Lake University (TX)
JUCO: No week 3 winner awarded

Week 4

NCAA DI: Chris Collins – Northwestern University
NCAA DII: Chad Warner – Flagler College (FL)
NCAA DIII: No week 4 winner awarded
NAIA: Danny Neville – University of Jamestown (ND)
JUCO: No week 4 winner awarded

Week 5

NCAA DI: Bryan Mullins – Southern Illinois University
NCAA DII: No winner – mandatory DII winter break
NCAA DIII: No week 5 winner awarded
NAIA: Mark Svagera – Briar Cliff University (IA)
JUCO: No week 5 winner awarded

Week 6

NCAA DI: Frank Haith – University of Tulsa
NCAA DII: Vinay Patel – Northwestern Oklahoma State University
NCAA DIII: No week 6 winner awarded
NAIA: Will Shouse – Asbury University (KY)
JUCO: No week 6 winner awarded

Week 7

NCAA DI: Shaka Smart – University of Texas
NCAA DII: Dan Ficke – Belmont Abbey College (NC)
NCAA DIII: Reni Mason – Louisiana College
NAIA: Delano Thomas – Shawnee State University (OH)
JUCO: No week 7 winner awarded

Week 8

NCAA DI: Isaac Brown – Wichita State
NCAA DII: Bubba Smith – Lee University (TN)
NCAA DIII: Damion Jablonski – Whitworth University (WA)
NAIA: Chris Wright – Talladega College (AL)
JUCO: No week 7 winner awarded

Week 9

NCAA DI: Tony Pujol – University of North Alabama
NCAA DII: Blake Flickner – Dallas Baptist University
NCAA DIII: Bill Sall – Calvin University (MI)
NAIA: Kyle Blankenship – LSU Shreveport
JUCO: Jeff Reinert – College of Southern Idaho

Week 10

NCAA DI: Lon Kruger – University of Oklahoma
NCAA DII: Kelvin Jefferson – Gannon University (PA)
NCAA DIII: Clay Nunley – Roanoke University (VA)
NAIA: Ryan Wall – Texas A&M – Texarkana
JUCO: Luke Strege – Mineral Area College (MO)

Week 11

NCAA DI: Dennis Gates – Cleveland State
NCAA DII: Johnny Estelle – Texas A&M Kingsville
NCAA DIII: Brooks Miller – Trine University (IN)
NAIA: RJosh Gamblin – Mid-America Christian (OK)
JUCO: Brandon Giles – Polk State College (FL)

Previous HoopDirt.com Coach of the Year Award Winners:

Division I

Division II

Division III




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