Week 13: 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 13 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 13 winners are:

NCAA DI: Casey Alexander – Belmont University

Casey Alexander With another pair of wins this week, Coach Alexander’s squad clinched the Ohio Valley regular season title and extended their winning streak to 21 games. The Bruins trailed Jacksonville State by as many as nine early in the second half on Thursday, but fought back to take a 63-59 victory. On Saturday, Belmont dominated wire-to-wire in a 90-66 defeat of Tennessee Tech. The Bruins are now 24-1 (18-0 OVC) on the season, and have won 30 consecutive conference games dating back to last year. Their next contest comes on Thursday, when they travel to take on Eastern Kentucky.

NCAA DII: Tobin Anderson – St. Thomas Aquinas College

Tobin Anderson Coach Anderson’s Spartans picked up three more wins this week to remain unbeaten on the season. On Wednesday, No. 16 St. Thomas Aquinas jumped out to a 31-point halftime lead at Mercy on the way to a 99-67 victory. In their weekend series with Molloy, the Spartans took both games by double-digits, winning 71-61 on Saturday and 92-63 on Sunday. Now 9-0 (8-0 ECC) on the season, St. Thomas Aquinas will look to remain perfect when they take on American International in a non-conference matchup on Wednesday.

NCAA DIII: Jon VanderWal – Marietta College

VanderWal_Jon_2016-17 Coach VanderWal guided Marietta to a series sweep over a top-10 opponent this past weekend. In the road portion of the home-and-home series against No. 9 Mount Union, the Pioneers rebounded from a seven-point halftime deficit to come away with an 85-77 upset. At home the following day, Marietta fended off a late Mount Union rally to take a 93-89 victory and improve to 7-1 (7-1 OAC) on the season. After receiving the most votes of any team outside the D3hoops.com Top-15 Poll last week, it is likely that Marietta will have a number next to their name when the next set of rankings are released.  Their next contest comes on the road at Ohio Northern on Friday evening. 

NAIA: Justin Newton – Reinhardt University

Justin Newton Coach Newton led Reinhardt to a pair of road wins this week to close out the regular season atop the AAC standings. On Monday, the Eagles came out with a hard-fought 75-71 victory in a huge matchup against Point, who led the conference at the time. Reinhardt built on this win by rallying from an eight-point halftime deficit the following day to defeat Truett McConnell by a score of 76-73. Just a year removed from a 7-22 finish, the Eagles ended the regular season with a record of 18-7 (13-6 AAC). As the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, Reinhardt will face off against Kentucky Christian on Thursday. 

JUCO (Co-winner): Bryan Bender – Southwest Mississippi Community College

Bryan Bender Coach Bender’s Bears earned a massive victory this week over the 2nd-ranked team in the country. A buzzer-beating three by redshirt sophomore Tada Stricklen lifted Southwest to a 70-69 home victory over Pearl River, ending the visitors’ nation-leading active winning streak at 33 games. Now 6-2 (5-2 MACCC) on the season, the Bears will look to build on this huge win when they take on Co-Lin Community College on Monday evening. 

JUCO (Co-winner): Matt Ridge – Davidson-Davie Community College

Default Alt Tag for this page Three wins this past week have Coach Ridge’s squad in a tie for the top spot in the latest NJCAA Division II Top-20 Rankings. The Storm, who entered last week ranked No. 2, began their week with a 102-60 drubbing of Lenoir on Wednesday. In their next contest, Davidson-Davie again topped the century mark, taking down Guilford Tech by a score of 104-75. The Storm closed out the week by pulling away late to come away with a 96-82 triumph over 7th-ranked Sandhills Community College. Davidson-Davie is now 8-1 (7-0 Region 10) on the season. They are back in action on Wednesday night at Fayetteville Tech. 

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)

Week 12

NCAA DI: Scott Davenport – Bellamine University
NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Todd Eisner – Winona State University (MN)
NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Mike Helfer – Valdosta University (GA)
NCAA DIII: Bill Fenlon – DePauw University (IN)
NAIA: John Teasley – Stillman College (AL)
JUCO: Pete Pena – Pensacola State College (FL)

Previous HoopDirt.com Coach of the Year Award Winners:

Division I

Division II

Division III




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